Sunday, 16 November 2008

My TV Drama

My TV Drama

by Dan Turèll

I have always wanted to make a TV drama
There will be just two characters
I can see them now

They’ll be a relatively younger couple
who are sitting by the fireplace after lunch
it’s all the same which social group they belong to
they could well be academics
or they might just as well work in a bank
and have a weakness for Pavarotti that’s quite alright
it just has to be a relatively younger couple by a fireplace
they have rented a summerhouse and there is a fireplace
and they want to light a fire
they don’t have too much open authentic old-fashioned acoustic fire in the air-conditioned back home
they have all day long experienced such violent forces of nature as Sun and Sea
so now they want to experience Fire
and then it is that it won’t light

They pile log upon log
but the fire doesn’t catch hold
they take turns to find new possibilities
and new explanations and new methods
but it will not work
and gradually the irritation rises

everyone hates being unable to do what they want
they don’t necessarily begin to argue
it doesn’t have to be like that
but there hangs an irritation about the place
and it could at any time explode

And so it is that to get the fire to catch he grabs a newspaper
he throws in the newspaper
the flame rises
now it’s there
but soon it dies away again
so another newspaper is needed, quickly
and then one more
and then there is only one newspaper left, in with it
and that was today’s
so she asks if that was necessary
‘that was the new one’
and he sees only the fire and the flame that rises
and it’s as if it isn’t his own voice he hears
when he says: ‘but there’s never anything in those newspapers’
and he knows well it was him who absolutely wanted to get the newspaper this morning
but suddenly it becomes clear to him that he likes to see it burn
he likes to see these murders and muggings and share prices
and commodity prices and book reviews and car ads
just burn, nice and slow
it’s exactly as though he gets a just revenge
it’s as though he becomes a little younger with every scrap of paper that burns up
a little lighter in his body
he gets the desire to burn the business correspondence
that he took with to the summerhouse because ‘there’s always something’
and he fetches it and throws it on the fire
and he smiles at her
and at the fire
and she rises suddenly and fetches the novel she’s reading
and throws it on the fire
she will never know how it ends
but she knows there is something else that is ending

And so they burn
and they burn
I don’t know how long they’ll burn
in reality it would in any case take an evening
they burn their identities and their old letters
all their days peel off them as though burnt out
and all the while they laugh and they laugh
quite astonished
for the first time high
on emptiness -

My translation from the Danish original,
Mit TV-drama by Dan Turèll.
Copyright © the estate of Dan Turèll.
Photos from the family album, a house in Denmark, 1968.

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