What is living? Living – that is to continually eliminate from ourselves what is about to die

Freely inspired by "CLYTEMNESTRA OR THE CRIME" by Marguerite Yourcenar


What is living? Living – that is to continually eliminate from ourselves what is about to die; Living – that is to be cruel and inexorble towards all that becomes weak and old in ourselves, and not only in ourselves. To be continually a murderer? F. Nietzsche (The gay Science)


The text of M. Yourcenar, to be found in the book "Fires", is based on the greek tragedy "Oresteia". Agememnon returns from the war of Troy and at home Clytemnestra, his wife, is waiting. She kills him with the help of her lover, Aegisthus. In this monologue Clytemnestra gives the grounds for her action in a court of our days. A servant and a master marry. The master has to conquer the world and goes to war. The servant waits for his return. The master returns. The servant kills her master. The man returns...
Marguerite Yourcenar tells us a love story that very often repeats itself. The self-denial love of a woman towards a man; of a servant towards the great man. We might say that every woman who believes in love adores serving her man, but she does not like to be treated like a servant.. Clytemnestra loves her husband – master, and in the name of fidelity she almost turns invisible. When he returns from the war, both of them are nothing but shadows of themselves. Clytemnestra kills her old master. The crime of Clytemnestra is in favour of life. She tears away something that is already dead. Like a dry leaf on a tree. A leaf on a tree turns dry. The tree let's the leaf fall down and die. The tree remains. New leafs start to grow. We live our lives repeating the same roles, patterns, habits...repeating the same story for centuries. We like to live this way. This repetition gives us a sensation of living. Yourcenar, so it seems, tries to push us to become masters of our own lives, through death. To let the dry leafs fall and to stop inventing thousands of ways of how to keep them hanging. The text is written in lyric prose. The many poetic images make it stinging and dense, soft and fluid. Like fire.

This monologue can be performed also in English, French and Norwegian.

Technical Equipment


Performance app. 50 minutes length (no break), 2 people incl. 1 actors, 1 technician.
Stage design: a chair.
Stage dimensions (minimum): 6 m wide X 5 m deep.


16 PC light 1 KW:
If the theatre/space is small less lights will be necessary.
No colour gels.
No changes of light in the entire show.
A simple light design that gives a homogenous lightning to cover the whole.
The play may be showed in different spaces, theatrical and not.
If the light design is to be mounted from scratch it is needed approx.1 hour and 40 minutes to prepare the stage.
If the light design is more or less settled it will take approx. 15 minutes to prepare the stage.
To dismantle the stage design; approx. 15 minutes.


No music during the show. Sound system not necessary


If are used subtitles (in English, French and Norwegian) the theatre has to provide the technical equipment for the subtitles.



Freely inspired by "CLYTEMNESTRA OR THE CRIME" by Marguerite Yourcenar
written, directed and interpretated by Annika Strøhm


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