La Mémoire des serpillères - Matéi Visniec


137 pages


La Mémoire des serpillères

Matéi Visniec | 2009-2010 | Paris, France
François, Malik, Les Rats, Un Rat, Ghinka, Eriko, Mirka, Tiek, Snorko, Igor, Madox, Marcel, Gheorki, L'Homme un peu révolté, Le Président, Les Experts (hommes et femmes), Le Ministre français des affaires étrangères, L'Architecte, Vidal, Hélène, Vanessa, Un Journaliste macédonien, Le Journaliste russe, Clown, Le Chef du peloton d'exécution, Les Soldats du peloton d'exécution
Number of acts

The Théâtre National de Bretagne (National Theatre of Brittany) in Rennes commissioned Matéi Visniec to write this play. The rats were written to be played by puppets.

Plot summary

Rats propose to join forces with humanity to cleanse the planet

A French journalist – François – is in a country at war to work on a report. He is welcomed by Malik – the leader of one of the camps, a collector of weapons and a fan of the Western consumer society and of the soap opera Santa Barbara. François also meets a sculptor monk, who happily guards the “cemetery of idiots”, and Marcel, a blind professor who philosophises about the fall of communism and the moral misery of humanity. François shows more and more aversion to the trade of journalism, which forces him to seek for the most gruesome news, and aversion also to humanity as a whole. The rats take an interest in this personal crisis: they are looking to communicate with him.

Then the journalist meets the leader of the enemy camp, who happens to be Malik. For years, the militiamen have been fighting against themselves, playing the role of two enemy camps. The rats explain their inter-species cooperation project to François, the aim of which is to clean up the waste on Earth, and to purge humanity of its metaphysical stain. A world summit of good neighbourliness is organised in Luxembourg, to discuss the modalities of the alliance. But the rats are too visible and so the situation slowly deteriorates. The play ends with François’ burial in the “cemetery of idiots”.

Composition date

First performance

Avignon, France, 4 July 2015 -

Présence Pasteur, directed by Victor Quezada-Perez (Compagnie Umbral), Festival Avignon-Off.

Publications and translations


Matéi Visniec, La Mémoire des serpillères. Paris: L’Œil du prince, 2020.