César

Previous pagePrevious page

Two-part and ten-scene comedy.
Théâtre des Variétés (1946).

Main initial performers

Henri Vilbert - César
Alibert - Marius
Raymond Pellegrin - Césariot
Arius - Panisse
Orane Demazis - Fanny
Margueritte Chabert - Honorine
Maupi - Le chauffeur
Milly Mathis - Claudine

Summary

Panisse is dying. Twenty years have gone since he married Fanny. Before he passes away, he gives his friend Elzéar, the priest, a letter to hand over to Fanny once he's dead. Then, he asks Césariot, their son who has been summoned back to his bedside, to keep a watchful eye on his mother. Later, to honor her husband's last wishes, Fanny tells Césariot that Panisse was not his real father and that he actually is Marius' son. Marius now works in his garage, in Toulon, with his associate, a disreputable person who jokingly provides Césariot with unpleasant and false information on his father.
Césariot warns Fanny against Marius although he feels more and more drawn to him all the same.
When he comes to see his father, César, Marius finds the right words to convince Fanny that he never stopped loving her.

HONORINE
Once you have confessed and repented satisfactorily, you go to heaven.

CÉSAR
Yes, maybe. But something is worrying me: Elzéar's God, our God, well, what if HE WASN'T THE REAL ONE?

ESCARTEFIGUE (terrified)
Oh, the devil!

HONORINE (outraged)
But, what are you saying?

CÉSAR
I mean that I know Muslims, Hindus, Chinese, Negroes. Their God is not the same as ours, and they do not do as we do!...
Some of our sins are good deeds for them, and the other way round... They might be wrong though... Only there are millions of billions of them... What if they were right, Monsieur Brun?

M. BRUN
Indeed, such a question may be considered.

CÉSAR
Poor Honoré is all set, just as it pleases Elzéar's God. And what if, when he arrives at the corner of a cloud, he finds a God that he's never been acquainted with? A black, yellow or red God? Or one of those Gods dressed like puppets that you can see at the antique dealer's, or the one who has a big belly? Or the one who has as many arms as a spider crab?
Poor Panisse, what will he say to him? In which language? Using what gesture? (To Escartefigue) Can you imagine yourself, all weary from your death and dizzy from traveling to Heaven, trying to talk to a God who doesn't understand you? And, whatever the number of prayers you make, he says:
"What? I beg your pardon? What are you saying?"
And he says this in Chinese?

ESCARTEFIGUE
Dreadful situation. Now, you give me the real shivers. (He drinks.)

HONORINE (angry)
Stop talking nonsense, you heathen. What about the Holy Bible? Is it just lies? And the Gospels? Aren't you ashamed of saying such things in front of the altar boy?

CLAUDINE (sarcastic)
If you went to Church more often, instead of drinking so much Pastis, you'd know that there is only one God! And this very God is ours.

CÉSAR
Yes, of course, the good one is ours. But it means that many people on Earth are being conned. I feel bad for them. Don't you, Monsieur Brun?