The Balcony – A synopsis
In a brothel named The Grand Balcony, the clients act out fantasies of sex and power with the prostitutes. The Madame who presides over this “house of illusions” is named Irma. Among her clients are a man who dresses as a Bishop, another who impersonates a Judge, and a third mimics a General. A fourth client, The Slave, enacts a scenario of extreme degradation. Outside the walls of the brothel, a violent revolution rages. One of Irma’s prostitutes, Chantal, escapes the brothel and joins the insurgents, for whom she becomes a symbol of Liberty. The revolution is led by Roger, Chantal’s lover.
Meanwhile, in Irma’s office, Irma and her assistant Carmen wait anxiously for the real controller of power in the country to arrive: Irma’s lover, the Chief of Police. Irma dispatches Arthur, a gigolo who plays the Executioner in the brothel , to find him. But the Chief of Police appears just after Arthur leaves. The Chief of Police yearns to have his image replicated in the brothel because then and only then will he truly have domination over the minds of the people.
As the revolution reaches a boiling point, the Royal Palace is destroyed and the mysterious and remote Queen and her dignitaries are all killed. An Envoy from the Palace arrives at the brothel and persuades the clients to portray their fantasy roles in earnest, with Irma assuming the role of the Queen. These new leaders appear on the Balcony of the brothel and are cheered by the crowd. Chantal appears on the Balcony with the Queen and is shot by an unknown assassin. Order is restored.
The revolution quelled, the Chief of Police still yearns to have someone impersonate him in the brothel. He has rejected the executioner’s red coat and axe as a symbol of his power, and now wants to be represented by an enormous phallus. Finally, a new client appears to act out the fantasy role of the Chief of Police. It is Roger, leader of the failed Revolution. He engages in a fantasy of power and cruelty, and then castrates himself. The Chief of Police takes Roger’s place in the Tomb, where he enshrines himself for eternity. Irma dismisses the Bishop, Judge and General as though there were mere clients and advises the audience to “prepare their roles”. She prepares herself for another day of work as the sounds of a new rebellion begin to emerge from outside.
(This is my synopsis for the program. We open tonight! Hope you can make it!)