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A Conversation With Erika Kohut (from The Piano Teacher)

Posted on the 10 October 2011 by Tjatkinson @T_J_atkinson

 

I know I’m late to the party on this, but I really want to participate and I only just found out about it a few hours ago, so I’m writing this hurriedly. Kid, the great blogger at Kid in the Front Row, a blog I didn’t know about before but am now definitely following, issued a blogathon in which people got to have a conversation with a film character of their choice. Now, the blogathon closed yesterday, but I’m writing mine today, because I’m desperate to participate, so I hope Kid forgives me.

 

Anyway, the character I am having a conversation with is Erika Kohut, the masochistic piano teacher played by Isabelle Huppert in the movie The Piano Teacher. Warning: this will make absolutely no sense if you haven’t seen the film. Here goes.

ME

Well, hello, Erika. Thank you for coming.

ERIKA

(stares off into space)

ME

(coughs) Erika? Hello?

ERIKA

What?

ME

I just said I’d like to thank you for being here, I realize you’re very busy with all the concerts you have to go to and the classes you teach.

ERIKA

Oh you know about my schedule, do you?

ME

Yes, it’s all in the movie.

ERIKA

What’s that? The film made by that German Kraut? Yes, I suppose it is.

ME

Well, it’s based on a book written by…

ERIKA

Don’t tell me about my own origins, I’m fully aware.

ME

Okay… let’s talk about you.

ERIKA

Me? What about me?

ME

You obviously have a passion for music.

ERIKA

Schubert and Schumann. All others are imitators.

ME

I see. What is it you like about them?

ERIKA

I don’t like them at all. I like their music; the emotion it carries.

ME

And that resonates with you, being a sadomasochist?

ERIKA

(scowls) Must you?

ME

Must I what?

ERIKA

Talk about that.

ME

Well, in the film you’re seen cutting your vagina and stabbing yourself, among other things.

ERIKA

So?

ME

I would see that as a discussion point.

ERIKA

Yes, well people like you would, wouldn’t you?

ME

I’m sorry, people like me?

ERIKA

You ask questions. I don’t deal in questions, I deal in answers. Facts. Reality.

ME

Really? Because you often seem to be in your own fantasy world when I see you.

ERIKA

(no reply)

ME

Let’s talk about your mother?

ERIKA

Must we?

ME

Yes, we must. I’ve brought her along today…

ERIKA

What?

(ERIKA’S MOTHER enters, glancing scornfully at her daughter)

ME

Ms. Kohut, what can you tell me about your daughter?

ERIKA’S MOTHER

Who are you? Why are we here? We were supposed to be going to a recital? What have you done, Erika? You’ve gone and ruined it all again. Typical!

ME

I take it you don’t like your daughter.

ERIKA’S MOTHER

Who told you that? I love Erika. I don’t like what she’s become.

ME

What has she become?

ERIKA’S MOTHER

A harlot! A fiend! A dirty whore!

ERIKA

Mother, please!

ERIKA’S MOTHER

Shut up! The man was addressing me.

ME

Please, Erika, continue. If you feel the need to say something to your mother, please do.

ERIKA

It’s not what she wants to hear.

ME

I see.

ERIKA’S MOTHER

Tell me! Tell me, you wretched harlot!

(ERIKA sits, silent and still, cold as stone, unresponsive)

(ERIKA’S MOTHER stands up and slaps her. She still does not respond.)

ERIKA’S MOTHER

Stupid girl!

(She slaps her again, and again. A smile forms around Erika’s lips.)

ME

Ms. Kohut…

ERIKA’S MOTHER

Filthy, wretched, thieving…

ME

Ms. Kohut, you’re not hurting her.

(ERIKA’s smile widens as she gently rubs herself.)

ME

Ms. Kohut, can’t you see she’s enjoying this?

(ERIKA’S MOTHER stops.) 

ERIKA’S MOTHER

Oh. I see. Doesn’t surprise me. Don’t think I didn’t read the letter, girl! Go and find your man and let him defile you like the filthy whore you are.

(ERIKA’S MOTHER storms off. ERIKA stands up, straightens her clothes, and walks off in the opposite direction.)

ME

Erika? Erika, please stay and let’s talk about this.

(By now they are both gone.)

ME

(muttering) Why do I always get the crazy ones? 

That’s my conversation. Of course, it won’t make sense to anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, so I highly recommend you check it out ASAP. Also check out Kid’s blogathon, which can be found here.


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