‘Me No Care’: French Pig takes on the big questions
Over-the-top plot has a lot to say about humanity and morality
FRENCH Pig is a 16th-century tale of a pig put on trial for the murder of a farmer. It follows Amee as she attempts to grapple with the grandiose nature of life and death, grief, justice, and the intricacies of love. It’s a philosophical comedy that doesn’t shy away from being vulgar, loud, and outright weird.
Some might categorize this as a satire, and sure, I suppose you can view it from that lens, but it’s so much more than that. It surpasses the simplicities of satire, but allows itself to tiptoe through satirical tropes and borderlining meta views and fourth-wall-breaking interactions with the audience. It’s theater-in-the-round – if you’re in the audience, you’re in the play.
The Director’s Notes asks the audience a simple question, really: What can a talking French Pig teach us about morality? The answer to that question is complicated, inherently human, and otherwise ridiculous.
What can a talking pig teach us about morality?
It can teach us that people are only in it for themselves sometimes, that justice isn’t always justice, and that humans are never going to get a straight answer to that question. But a pig’s just a pig, right?
Well that pig, played by Jamie Bulzomi, is a pig that really doesn’t care that it’s on trial for murder. She’s hungry. She’s mean. “Me no care,” she says throughout. Her motivation to kill is never said. Why do animals kill? Why would a pig kill a person? Instinct is perhaps a viable option, because when Quicksilver the pig is pressed for an answer, all she knows is that she doesn’t know. So the answer to the question is placed on the humans’ shoulders.
Bulzomi’s performance as the titular character is worth every second. I wanted more of the pig on stage. The crass ass scratching and oinks, honks, and insatiable hunger are over the top, and the French’s way with curse words give her French Pig a sense of animation and verboseness that perhaps only Bulzomi can pull off. As she’s taken away at the end, the emotion portrayed through her performance put the audience, and myself, a little further into the back of our seats. It’s a flooring performance, and as weird as this play is, her performance was real.
Taylor Anaya-Estrada’s Amee is our view into the human eye of this plague-ridden world. Anaya-Estrada’s performance is just as grand and emotional as Bulzomi’s. The feeling of being small and helpless, cold, afraid, and angry at the world and at the universe was carefully crafted through her performance. It’s a truly grounding and modern take on the exhaustion and helplessness of today.
As the main character and most reliable human of the tale, the audience can’t help but to sympathize with her cause, her tribulations, and existential grievances. Because, after all, what kind of a French story would you have without futile feudal existentialism?
Why put a pig in jail? It’s a pig. To her, the pig is more than a pig. It’s all she has left of Clarice. The woman murdered by the pig and the woman she loves. Without the pig’s obvious financial support and fertilizing capabilities, she will die poor. However, without the pig, she is forced to say goodbye, to move on. Amee isn’t ready to do that, yet.
And once again, we are asked what can a pig teach us about morality?
Justice is served in a sense, if you’re crazy enough to think that a pig is capable of premeditated homicide. Daniel Glover’s Lawyer and Nate Pixley’s Judge are our skewed justice system and its inherent flaws and bastardized sense of right and wrong. Is it in the 16th century or today? French Pig says “Who knows? Who cares?”
French Pig is filled with poetic dialogue and grand mal emotions. It’s weird like a Coen Brothers film and just as independently and carefully acted and put together.
French Pig, written by David Jacobi and directed by Rebecca Schmitt, is an ASU Xperimental Theatre production. French Pig is presented by Adams State University Theatre and the School of Visual and Performing Arts. French Pig is playing at the ASU Xperimental Theatre from Feb. 23-26.