The Suede Jacket

Ivan Antonov, an idealistic young intellectual who teaches linguistics at a university, buys a suede jacket. However, the suede is imperfect – there are clumps of hair still left on it. Therefore he decides to give it a haircut. The only person who will agree to do this is a village sheep shearer. However, for fiscal purposes he must follow the letter of the law: since there is no way for him to put the jacket down as such, he registers the transaction as shearing a private sheep. Thus the jacket becomes a sheep in the state registers. A special note for the sake of the shearer’s superior says that Ivan Antonov keeps the sheep in his bathtub as a pet. According to the logic of the absurd, if the jacket is a sheep, its owner must pay tax for owning a domestic animal. Nothing Ivan Antonov says or does can persuade the tax office that the jacket is not a sheep. The bureaucratic machine duly churns him around. The only solution the Bureaucrat can propose is that Ivan Antonov buy a sheep, since it is on the register anyway. Antonov is gradually abandoned by the friends who initially came along to help him in the inferno of the tax office, full of doors leading nowhere and walled-up corridors. Forced to go through the hellish labyrinth of bureaucratic unconcern and lack of human understanding, Antonov ultimately takes his jacket to graze on the lawn in the park next to the university.

Selected Productions
Selected Translations
Dramaten, Stockholm, Sweden. Directed by Barbro Larsson.
National Theatre Center, Latakia, Syria. Directed by Salman Sheriba.
DMS Productions, New York City, USA. Directed by Stefano Genovese and Maria Riboli.
© Aeolus project 2016. All rights reserved.