The Lower Depths

Programming / Play – video game link.

If I tended to exaggerate – a little – I could tell you that I spent my day looking for what, in theatre, would go so well with a game like Borderlands.

That wouldn’t be entirely true – I just made sure that my memory was still in good shape.
And so here is the play that would fit, but then like a glove, with Borderlands – with Cyberpunk too, by the way : The Lower Depths.

This is a play by Maxim Gorky – no no, don’t go! This one is really funny.
It’s in the spirit of Cabaret.
This play is the great anything of joy, madness and fantasy when you have nothing at all in life, except joy, madness and fantasy – treasures quite precious by the way.

The history? The plot? Well, well, actually… there isn’t really one.
There are characters – and then there are some pretty good characters – and it’s this point of entry that made me think of linking the two, the game and the play.

The central point of all this is the place: at the choice of your imagination, think of an old pirate’s lair, an almost disused bar, a mix between a “bad kind” hotel and a badly lit cellar from the time of prohibition.

In this place, there are Mr and Mrs: they are the owners. They rent out beds – rooms would be too big a word for the pile of straw full of dust and fleas they call your lodging.
Mister and madam are bored, they have made more or less clear arrangements with some of their tenants, and now it’s turning into vaudeville: but wouldn’t madam do favors for a hungry but soooo handsome young man?

UNDERGROUND, Miki Manojlovic, Mirjana Jokovic, Lazar Ristovski, 1995

With them, the whole collection of the tenants: an actor who does not act, he cannot : he drinks, you can’t do everything in life, a prostitute who dreams of love, a baron who dreams of a baroness and prostitutes his prostitute, an unemployed locksmith – the guy he looked for to achieve this feat, a hatter, a cheat with a knife who goes out quickly, a saleswoman, one who is going to die soon, and who dies besides, drunkards who don’t know what to do with it anymore, tramps, and here they are, they start arguing about everything and nothing, feeling in love for ten minutes and regretting afterwards, so you have to drink, ah yes, and then also party, fight and sing.
What do you mean he killed himself? No, you’re not serious, man, not during the song. That guy wasn’t worth a worn-out slipper.

Beware, no misinterpretation: this piece is not a “‘miserable” thing in the genre: poor people.
It’s a really good play, with characters who are very happy with who they are, who live to laugh and fight, sometimes to fall in love – but that’s the bonus, they don’t have time to fall in love – and then, it’s a hassle.

In my mind, the closest I know is the movie Underground – you know, that movie where you give up trying to put everything right but it’s just a pure moment of rapture, amazement, and fear at the same time.

And then, since they fight a lot – since there’s not an ultra-tight frame to respect and if you move it, you don’t understand anything about the story, it’s exactly the kind of work I find ideal for my famous ones: adaptation for an e.sport tournament.
Theme : The Fool
Game: Borderlands 3

Since the main location of the play could very well be in Borderlands – and the characters aren’t very far (…) from the characters in the game, it’s almost the perfect match.

It would therefore take :
find an objective: the target are the owners, you pay them or you kill them
the obstacles are the characters in the play, which make you lose your mind
and as there is a locksmith…. there is Clap Trap to try to open the door padlocked by that damn locksmith.

As it is a question of proposing a tournament, we need teams – we can think of one team per character on stage – the team that helps him and will allow him to realize the dream that he imprudently let slip out of his mouth.
And since dreams oppose each other, the teams will oppose each other.

Maybe then, in the end, the young guy won’t commit suicide – or maybe further on – or maybe after the song.
But either way, one team will win – and the others won’t. And that will change the end of the play.
And I have what I wanted: a beautiful link – between a very big game and a very big play.

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Featured Image : Underground – directed by Emir Kusturica – 1995

4 Thoughts

    1. 🙂 Thank you very, very, much for that comment – because, since you’re not a player, and you’re interested anyway, it encourages me to persist and to be sure and certain that this kind of show could be of interest to a large and diverse audience. Merci encore – Barbara

      Liked by 1 person

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