Critical but stable

A comedy by Jean-Pierre Martinez

English translation by Anne-Christine Gasc

Raymond is in a deep coma following an accident on a Boris Bike. His long lost relatives are called to his bedside to decide what to do and avoid prolonged therapeutic interventions. But this collective decision becomes even more difficult when the patient turns out not to be who everyone thought he was. And is the keeper of a secret that could make everyone very rich…




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The worse tragedies often make the best material for comedies… Euthanasia is an old socio-political chestnut that regularly finds its way in the news (and hospital rooms). I took this play on as a personal challenge to get laughter from an audience with the story of a man in a deep coma – I had to produce comedic content from a tragic situation. When a patient falls in a deep coma their relatives are asked whether to keep them on life support. In this comedy, two siblings are contacted by a doctor after an accident sent their brother in a coma, but since they haven’t spoken to their brother in a long time they aren’t sure what to do – especially since they don’t really care all that much and have their own problems to deal with. And then someone presumed to be the brother’s life partner shows up and provides more information about the circumstances of the accident. These new elements are given to the audience piece by piece and cause the siblings to cynically alternate between wishing to maintain life support and wanting to ‘unplug’ their brother. Life is a joke, and when someone dies or is about to die it becomes a tragicomedy whose components are defined by the social hypocrisy that governs our behaviours in such solemn circumstances. Society forces us to respect, even sacralise death. The problem of course, is that except for the Pope, the living do not become saints simply by taking their last breath, and when people die they tend to leave money. Sometimes even dirty money… This tragi-comic aspect of life makes it difficult to keep a straight face when confronted with death. The best fits of laughter are those you get at funerals. Or in a theatre. I hope I have written a comedy where you will laugh yourselves to death…


Jean-Pierre Martinez

A semiologist and a writer, Jean-Pierre Martinez has created a unique theatrical universe borrowing and blending elements from light comedy, black humour and the absurd. A powder-keg of a mix that is seducing an ever increasing audience. A script-writer for the French television series Avocats & Associés (France 2), he has written over a hundred television screenplays and seventy comedies for the theatre. He is one of the most frequently played contemporary playwrights in France and his plays have been translated in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Friday the 13th is his biggest play and has been performed in theatres all over the world, from Paris to Broadway and from Buenos Aires to Mexico. All his plays are published by La Comediathèque and are available online ( Originally from Paris but in love with Provence, he spends the best part of the year in Tarascon where he registered the Compagnie Libre Théâtre, of which he is a director along with Ruth Martinez.