Three women: Mrs Diss, France and Nancy. A mother-in-law, two daughters-in-law. One of them, Nancy, is visiting from town – she has come to pay respects to her dead son, a boy named Jacky. A man, ensconced inside a house, in the cornfield, not willing to come out or to let his mother in. It is the 14th of July, dry, hot, but no one is there to enjoy the fireworks. Mrs Diss wants to borrow money. In this cold, dark and deceptively simple play, relationships are played out and transformed, narratives woven, emotions manipulated, roles exchanged. Who are these women? What force – what deity – draws them to this house? What or who is the snake?

Translated from French by Kélina Gotman
Directed by Daniel Goldman
Embedded critic: Diana Damian Martin
Post-show discussion hosted by Bojana Jankovic
​The event is free but booking is recommended: book here ​

Marie NDiaye is a novelist, essayist and playwright born in Pithiviers, France, to a French mother and a Senegalese father. An active writer since her childhood, she published her first novel, Quant au riche avenir, at the age of 17. Rosie Carpe (2001) won the Prix Femina, her Papa Doit Manger is the only play by a living woman in the repertoire of the Comédie Française, and her novel Trois femmes puissantes won the 2009 Prix Goncourt. In 2015, she won the Nelly Sachs Prize, which honours authors for outstanding literary contributions to the promotion of understanding between peoples. Her latest novel was nominated for the 2016 International Man Booker Prize. Les Serpents was published by Les Éditions de Minuit in 2004, and premiered in a mise en scène by Georges Guerreiro in 2005.