Research Area A
For Vitorchiano August 2016 – by Tale Næss
About the room:The text can be performed in any space in between the public and the private. In a stairwell, in a corridor, in an abandoned restaurant, in a hotel-kitchen or in a hallway etc.About the actor:She can just be herself.Or the text could be performed by a child. It could also be performed by a man.
Possible starts:The audience enter as a group together with the actor, or the actor meats them as they enter. All through the performance the forth wall is gone. Addresses are personal, even intimate. Gazes are met and touch is allowed.
About the text:This text is as cold as it is emotional. As virtuose as it is matter of fact. It answers to a real place and to an imagined place.It is a crime-site, an event, an address. It is past and it is time rushing forward.
1. The corridors
Shall we? Shall we let something pass?
See – a nun.
Can you see her?Stooped by the doorway.Holding her left hand on her belly.
A wedding-party!Hear how they sing!
And a little bony boy – wide awake by the door.He’s mother has barricaded it.There is a man on the other side. He has stoped shouting. He his burying his face in the carpet –
And in the room across the hall a couple asleep. All entangled in the bed.
– Hush. – We must not wake them.It is soon morning and they need their sleep.
And over in that room over there, a man is about to collapse over his memoars. His one hand clenching the pen, the other his chest. It is a grinder, grinding the present into the past. Trying to hold onto it all, he has stepped out of time.
Can you see it?
Can you see his hand?
Can you see how they strive to hold on to all this? As they strive to hold on – as the wedding party arrives, as the guests arrives – a scythe cutting through thickets ...They are here now.
All of them. Those who can pay and those who can not.Those dressing for dinner.Those going to bed and the ones who cannot sleep.
Can you feel them?The stillborn and the unborn – hanging onto time. In the corridors, behind closed doors, on the first floor, the second floor, the third floor. In room number 2, room number 18, room number 10.
2. The rooms
One – All the furniture covered in sheets. The walls wet with mortar
Two – a man praying, his crucifix. The cat and its shadow
Three – All the windows are open
Four – a politician on his knees. Shards of glass everywhere
Five – a confession
Six – an ongoing transaction
a dog barking
a red ball rolling down the stairs.
In room number seven – Nothing.
In room number eight – a bony boy wide awake. He has wet himself. He does not dear to tell his mother. He stands in the middle of the room listening. It’s all quiet now. Nobody shouting anymore. We see him. We see him barefoot on the floorboards as he walks over to the door, as he climbs up on the chair that barricades it, as he puts his eye to the key-whole.We are right behind him as he looks out and sees – nothing.Just the hallway.Just the wall on the other side.
From this angle he cannot see the man face down on the floor. The ring he clinches in his left hand. His eye swollen. There he is. Drunk. Asleep. Dreaming. The boy cannot follow him where he is. Into the dream where he crosses a bridge in a strange town. Where he holds the boy’s hand, lifts him up, where the sky is all purple and blue.
In room number nine – a radio playing. Song.Sun across the floorboards.
In room number ten – A marriage not yet consummated. The groom half undressed at the edge of the bed. He is hiding his face in his hands, overwhelmed by lust or by shame.Down in the restaurant the wedding guests continues to party.
A man has taken off his jacked and the other guests chares as he buttons up his shirts, showing off his muscly back.
A sudden shower ...
Generations that come and go as the church yard is filled by mourners, as accounts are opened and closed – Can you see my face?It’s there in the crowd. I am looking for you.
In a mirror a mother greets her newborn baby – that’s me too.
I am there. Blinking at my reflection.Night-time now.
The dead on their stretchers as a war breaks out.My face is a gateway – it is a door swinging back and forth between what’s private and what’s public.A soldier lights his cigarette. Leaning his back against a basement-door as the judge collapses over his memoars. His hands shaking as he writes: – I am trying to write, but I am getting nowhere. – I awake in the night. I am falling through the corridors.
Sometimes I feel that it’s as if it’s been all in vain. That I made the one wrong decisions. Passed the wrong sentence.Am I – He writes: – Am I this mistake?Am I just an unfinished puzzle?
Did you hear that?How heavy – The weight of it
as the judge collapses, as he is already gone, already empty –He will no longer dream of falling through the the corridors, lived life will no longer cling to him like leftovers – and I am a child, here on my own, by the door, on the floor.
Can you see me?
Aren't anybody going to pick me up?
And there are room upon room, stairwell upon stairwell, can you hear the rattling inside the walls, the creaking in the floor – That is time moving. Steadying itself as it makes up its mind. Sneaking through the corridors, hiding in the corners. Barking like a monkey. Rushing through the centuries, entering spaces, bodies, minds and onwards into other spaces, bodies, minds.
The war is here.The war is over.
Time for peace
and for what comes after.
The rooms are empty now. Dust falls where it pleases. The air is hot and heavy.
That is all.
We are all there is:
A convent-girl all alone in her cell.She is seventeen. She stands terrified of sounds. Shakes as she hears a child crying. It is her own child, left alone in the woods – is it not, sister?
Sister, look at us. Just look at us and say it wasn't true: That it wasn't you.
– It wasn’t me.– It was not my child.
– I did not do it.– That there is somebody elses child crying.But still it awakes her at night and she says:– Don't look at me.Why do you look at me?Why do you look at me like that?Why don’t you say something? Why don’t you answer me?I never said anything.
– You were the one crying, we say.– I never cry.– You were scared.– I am never scared.– You wanted your mother. You wanted do go home.
– I am fine. I don’t want to go home. That’s not true! Who told you that! There is nothing wrong with me. Don’t look at me!Stop looking at me like that!
What are we supposed to tell her?What should we say?How can we comfort her? – It is allright. We are here now. – You'll be fine.
– No, the winter won’t be too cold. You will never shout, cry, despair again.
– We won’t look at you. – See – We’ve closed our eyes. – Look – we are not looking at you anymore. We are not even here. We can’t even see you any longer.
And then – we are somewhere else.She is no longer with us.We are in room 32.How bright it is!Completely drenched in sunlight. – Wait. Don’t touch.
Just stay still. Now you can continue.
Can you see it now?The open door?There to the left of the bed?
The sink in the corner.
The carpets.Can you smell it?sweetsickly.
Can you not smell it?It’s still her isn’t it
the smell of flesh rotting?
The sun against our face.
The shape of something on the floor.
Now close your eyes.
Wait til you are somewhere else.
Now you can open them again.
Mmmmm – the smell of honey and rosemary ...
Rain falling against warm cobblestones on a hot afternoon.
The key in the lock.
Doors that swings open and that which waits behind them.
Can’t we just leave it – the bony boy, the judge, the nun, the voices saying:
– Come in.
– You came!
– I have been waiting.
You are finally here.
Finally it’s just us.
Finally it’s not just me –
And the walls start tumbling
and room number 21 becomes a garden
and there is the sound of a body falling and the silence as it hits the floor beneath
cocaine white like a seventeen year old girl.
She left it all behind.
She could not sleep, could not eat.
She was homesick.
And the boy puts his eye to the key-wholebalancing on the chair – seeing nothing at first.
Then his father – as he gets up from the floor
What do you think, little boy?
Will he stay?
Will he go?
Will he ever come back?
Time is a shadow. It is a wide-eyed boy.We are there with him.
We stand in the doorway between what was
and what will be.
We are the mirror where time shows itself
taking on a face:
mine – as room number 11 gets filled up with instruments.
With sunshine.A litter of kittens.
Look – a road spins out of nowhere lit up like in an old arcade-game.
This is a puzzle
a piece here
and a piece there as the picture completes itself.
I am the room.
You are the key.
What do you see?
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