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In Polygraph by Robert Lepage and Marie Brassard, why is scene thirteen—the lengthy...

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pashti | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted July 2, 2013 at 3:50 AM via web

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In Polygraph by Robert Lepage and Marie Brassard, why is scene thirteen—the lengthy scene at the restaurant—entitled “The wound?”

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 29, 2013 at 5:30 AM (Answer #1)

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As is the case with Lepage and Brassard's Polygraph, the story tells the audience several stories when it at first appears that it is really only telling one. In scene thirteen, entitled, "The wound," there are several things we should observe to gain a clearer understanding of each of the characters. 

First, Lucie is "wounded" in that she has witnessed the suicide of he man who threw himself in front of a moving train. Some time has passed, but (as with Francois) we cannot take for granted that the experience is not still hurtful. Another aspect of Lucie with which we may infer that she has been wounded in the past is her complete inability to function honestly with David—evident as she struggles to choose wine. It would seem that Lucie doesn't know much about wine, but instead of admitting it to David, she pretends that she has an understanding and an appreciation for it, which she does not. We might assume that Lucie is somewhat insecure as she almost desperately pretends to understand something that she knows nothing about.

Lucie describes her first day of shooting, starring as the murder victim in her movie. And the shooting, literally, has concentrated on the wound of the movie's victim:

LUCIE:

But today I felt like they were taking me apart.

DAVID:

Taking you apart?

LUCIE:

Yes...Close-up of one eye, medium shot of the knife in the back, my right hand scratching at the floor...

David has expressed some cynicism in that actors use fake tears to make them cry, which he appears to take as duplicity on the actor's part: that a true actor should be able to generate tears on cue:

What a deception! I believed that for an actor at least, tears were the ultimate proof of true emotion.

This statement may be tied to the manner in which David left Anna in Berlin. Her letter infers her deep sadness at his parting—although she was not completely surprised of his lack of commitment. And when he tries the fake tears, while he recalls leaving Anna, we are struck by David's complete separation from Anna without experiencing an emotional response: the tears he sheds are fake tears used at the theater. We might assume that in the past David has been emotionally wounded, and so he keeps his feelings bottled up inside. When Lucie says she has slept with Francois, David shows almost no reaction:

David!...React!...Feel something!

David's reticence to show his feelings at news of Francois and Lucie's liaison may be caused by a betrayal of trust he has experienced in his past. In describing the matruska (nesting doll) David brings to Lucie, his comment is relatively dark. In speaking of the doll in terms of its cultural significance, David notes...

But...I like to think it may stand for other things like...Hidden feelings...One truth which is hiding another truth and another one with another one.

Francois is definitely wounded. We may not know all the reasons, but he relives the taking of the polygraph test at the police station, and in doing so, he becomes deeply depressed over the worry—and we see damage the test appears to have caused him. David points out that there is every reason for one that is "victimized" by the test to suffer psychological damage as a result.

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