Roberto Zucco # 4

Who are you, Roberto Zucco?

This is a never-ending, circular question. Who is he, the only character in the play to have a name? That name that, for him, is an obsession. That name he can’t say, because saying it out loud would mean he would die.


It is a name that he must forever repeat to himself so as not to forget it. A name that he cannot read anymore, and that he carries with himself, in his memory. Who is he, he who wishes he was transparent, as transparent as the glass of a window, as a chameleon sat on a stone? Is he the product of a society that has gone mad? Someone who was irresponsible and that the violence of the world turned into a murderer? One of society’s martyrs, a prisoner of his own hagiography? Of course, we know that Bernard-Marie Koltès was inspired by Roberto Succo, the Italian serial killer who stroke in France and in Switzerland between April 1987 and February 1988, and that Koltès seemed to find fascinating. Zucco, who are you? Are you Chronos, devouring the world? Or, in Koltès’ words, “a mythical character, a hero like Samson or Goliath, monstrously strong, yet in the end brought down by a stone or a woman”? Who are you? A psychopathic assassin? A hallucinating Dom Juan? A furious and feral beast? A train wreck? A car that crashed at the bottom of a ditch? An outsider? Are you, like Koltès claims, “an automatic assassin”? A figure of social transgression? A pitiless marginal and impulsive hero who defies society? Or maybe you are a murderous Icarus who is fascinated by the free flight of birds? A hippopotamus of shivering flesh? A madman, so obsessed by a desire to be powerful that he can imagined making love with the sun? A body with no identity, a body in pieces, that oscillates between the greatest excess and the most naïve tenderness?

What is certain, is that you defy any logic, any attempt at rationalising, any psychological shortcuts. There is too much light in you for you to be visible and encapsulated by one single truth. Unless, and this is a hypothesis we suggest, unless you are no more than a virus! A nasty mortal virus. An independent material unit that does what it was programmed to do, and that, to exist, needs to infect a host cell so it can use it to survive. An obligatory intracellular parasite, against which there is no vaccine. This would mean that you are not a living being, but a monstrous combination of biological molecules that come from the same primordial soup as humans. 

The only difference would be that you would have evolved in parallel to us. It would mean that you are a very ancient and translucent being, which infects our exhausted world that now lacks the ability to defend itself. You would be the natural carrier of our hatred, of our predatory animosity. An apocalyptical virus attacking a society which immune system can no longer distinguish between what it is and what isn’t. And your pathogenic power would be so great that the morbid fever you provoke would turn, in its last stage, into an erotic overloading. Zucco is a virus! Maybe the mirror image of another virus, the one that consumed Bernard-Marie Koltès, and that he locked inside this fabulously beautiful last play.



The story of Bernard-Marie Koltès’ Roberto Zucco, based on Roberto Succo’s infamous journey, is set in...