Zone (book)

Zone is a French-language three-act play written by French-Canadian author Marcel Dubé. It revolves around Tarzan, a leader of a group of young criminals who sell American cigarettes illegally. The title "Zone" refers to the fact that each of the contrabandists were stuck in a zone of society where it was almost impossible to save oneself from the poor lifestyle.


Ciboulette: The main character of the play. She is the youngest at 16 years of age, and also the only female in the play. Her name translates into chives. She is in love with Tarzan, however does not reveal this to him. She lives in a fantasy world. She fears that she is too ugly for him, because she has short frizzy hair and sharp teeth, not like the other girls. She also thinks that her parents don't love her.

Tarzan: Tarzan is the leader of the group of contrabandists. He crosses the American border to retrieve the cigarettes, and brings them back to Quebec where his group sells them. He is also in love with Ciboulette, however he is more realistic than she is. When time comes for him to leave to go back to jail, Ciboulette wants them to go into the shed and get married, however he knows that she will not have a happily-ever-after with him. It is revealed during his interrogation that his real name is François Boudreau, and that he is an orphan.

Passe-Partout: Passe-Partout is the traitor of the group. He is the one who accidentally leads the authorities to the shed where their illegal cigarettes are hidden. He is all too happy during the interrogation to tell the police everything he knew, and is the one who tells them that Tarzan crossed the border the day a border-control officer was killed. He has an ego-problem, however he is a coward. It is revealed during his interrogation that his real name is René Langlois, and that he joined the group to provide food for his mother, because his father drinks his paycheck. He also has a bit of a crush on Ciboulette, which only complicates the situation between him and Tarzan. for example Passe Partout says to Ciboulette; "Laisse-moi t'embrasser et je donne tout; je te rendrai riche, je te volerai des perles, des bracelets, des colliers." pg.23 Translated this mean, let me kiss you and i'll give you everything, i'll make you rich, i'll steal pearls, bracelets, and necklaces for you.

Tit-Noir: Tit-Noir is the accountant, and the most ambitious of the group. It is revealed during his interrogation that his real name is Arsène Larue, and that he joined the group to get money for his future family and to study to become a priest. His nickname is "Tit-Noir" because when he was little, he had black hair so his father called him "Petit-Noir" which eventually transformed into "Tit-Noir"

Moineau: Moineau is the most artistic of the group. He often plays the harmonica, and joined the group so that he could become a musician. He is often day-dreaming off in his own little world, and is very sensitive. He likes to read comics. His name comes from the french word for sparrow, humorously referring him to be about as strong and smart as a tiny bird. His intelligence level is clearly shown several times throughout the reading. For example: "C'est vrai qu'y a toujours une ligne blache pour séparer deux pays? roughly translated to: "Is it true there's always a white line separating two countries?".

Johny: Johny is the least seen in the play, with only one line. In the original performance, he was performed by Marcel Dubé. He drives the truck to the border with Tarzan. It is unclear whether or not he is an official member of the group, or just the chauffer.

The Chief of Police: The chief of police is only seen during act two, which is when they interrogated the group. He has a very clever interrogation strategy, causing pretty much every member to reveal something they did not intend to tell. He has a son about the age of Tarzan, which made it harder for him to send Tarzan to jail.

Ledoux: Ledoux is the detective that follows Passe-Partout to the shed.

Roger: Roger is a police officer that was present during the interrogations. He is the most violent, wanting to use force to make them talk.


Tarzan gathers a group of young teenagers who will sell cigarettes he smuggles in from the United-States. Ciboulette, the youngest of the group and also the only female, is in love with Tarzan. She does not confess her love for she doesn't want to disrupt his thoughts, and she is too shy. During the first act, we see that the whole of the risks are taken by Tarzan. Indeed, he is the one who risks getting caught when jumping between lines of the countries (Canada and United-States). While he does that the goal of the rest of the team is to first: provide for themselves an alibi, by working, so that people do not suspect them of anything. Their second goal is to look for potential clients and take the orders from them on the number of cigarettes they want. Finally, they have to cover all traces of their "extra-credit" work, so that nothing can be found behind them. During this act, we are introduced to the characters, we learn that Tarzan is late and everyone fears that he has been caught. We learn that Moineau is the keeper of the stock, he is on watch to make sure nobody gets too curious about their hiding spot. Tit-Noir, is the bookie, he keeps the count of the stock, the amount they sell and the amount to deliver. What is important, is the fact that everybody except Passe-Partout loves and respects Tarzan, and are very thankful to him for trying to make their lives better. Also, we learn that Passe-Partout is stealing wallets, ties and other things, which is not allowed by Tarzan as it might draw the police's attention to them. This is exactly what happens, as one of Passe-Partout's "victims" is the police officer, LeDoux. He follows him to their hiding spot and then orders a whole patrol to surround the building. The first act finishes as the small group tries to escape.

Act 2 starts in the interrogation room of the police department. The Chief calls in one after the other every member of the small band and through some mischivous mind tricks learns a little bit of information from each of them. After interrogating Tit-Noir, they receive a phone call informing them of the murder of a border patrol officer earlier that day. They call in Ciboulette and announce to her that they know almost everything, but just need a small detail to be satisfied. She resists them as she can, but when the chief mentions that an American was killed that day, her face shows her surprise and fear that it was Tarzan who killed him. She faints. The chief then calls Tarzan but he doesn't betray himself, even though he comes close when the chief tells him that Ciboulette fainted. After his failure with Tarzan the chief is forced to use his last card. They learn from Passe-Partout, who was all too eager to help for a good deal, that Tarzan had crossed the border that very day. Tarzan soon confesses that he killed the officer. End of Act 2.

The group is let free, with the exception of Tarzan, who is put in jail. After 3 days, when a guard comes in to give him dinner, Tarzan attacks, and then escapes. He meets Ciboulette and the others at their hiding place, with the sound of the police looking for him in the background. He then asks to see Passe-Partout. Tarzan takes the money that Passe-Partout stole from them and shares it among everybody equally. Passe-Partout is, of course, excluded. He then asks everyone to leave so he can stay alone with Ciboulette. They admit each other their love, and while she still thinks he has a chance, Tarzan is convinced that there is no way he can survive and stays, to spend the last moments of his life with her. The police arrive, he tries to escape, with no success and is shot while climbing on the roof. He falls back, dead, in the arms of Ciboulette. End of Act 3.


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