“Spook or Methods of remembering.”
(Audience enter a large darkened theatre. Dim lights show that half the hall is ‘covered’ with crawling, swarming chairs, piled in such a way that they look like alive, all piled and linked together, invading the stage area and a large area of the floor of the auditorium, ‘swarming’ over the side barriers too. The seating area is smaller than the landscape for the performance. Dust sheets (lit from inside) create pockets of light, cocoons/webs in the structure.)
(enter narrator. A ghostly, ethereal character in a vintage nightdress. As if dreaming….)
I must go and achieve.
I must go and achieve.
‘Halls’ I calls them. Halls in residence.
My hall is full of junk.
I must go and achieve.
But the exit hall is blocked………full of comparison
My hall is a deep, dark channel, full of nothing but memories.
“Spook” he said. And it flew away.
(lights flit and spin suddenly around the set.)
I tried to catch it, in the corner of my eye……..but it flew away.
Just like that.
“Spook” he said. And it flew away. Sliding up-down, over-easy, snarling and angry. Biting and spitting.
A blind man stares after it.
In staring……he stares in…….lost in his haunted halls.
(the voice of a reprimanding teacher/parent)
“Willy nilly, acting silly,
Taped to a rocket, pink and frilly.
Shooting like an amno-nugget,
Into a deep, dark channel….”
screams the Catcher passing
Squirming , grappling with a feather.
“Plug it! Damn that fleeting oh-so
In a jar-jammed locked forever.
Plug it! Suffocate its gill mouth
Let it sing no more!”
And grumbling resigned to sitting on the stony floor.
(as the next series of words are spoken the narrator moves around the stage setting up apparently quite random props which are lit appropriately. A pile of real, bloody butchers bones, blood gets on nightie…a set of 10 wind-up chattering teeth. All get set off and rewound, absentmindedly as the narrator describes the catcher. Noise of the teeth creates a background sound.)
Catcher sits in trembling fury.
Saliva wets his appetite and is running down his reason.
Snarling “obsession” he paces his life,
(Growling on soundtrack)
Hunting each memory down and trapping it.
Preserving jars full, before its staleness forces olderness upon him.
He grinds from corner to corner,
Gnawing at the chain that binds him to himself.
He cannot accept the concept of ‘past’.
So ‘past’ in jar jammed, stored and fed.
(A group of arranged laboratory style jars full of different coloured liquids are lit from behind. A stained glass effect in the gloomy ‘attic’ of chairs.)
Keeping alive what has to be dead.
The memories that make him,
That mold him,
That bore him.
The past that unbottled, would later ignore him.
Frustrated he roots for the secret ingredient,
that cannot exist in this tumble down, go nowhere, sometimes up, sometimes down, spinning, go-lucky world in revolution.
But he is blind to futility, blind to his greedy swallowing.
Swallowing whole, to store and regurgitate.
Adding to his personal zoo of dead, crippled memories.
He paces snarling. (Narrator paces, urgently, using the rhythm of the words)
Straining on the future leash.
He does not want to die.
Red eyes rolling, sinewy, whisker twitch.
Maddened by inevitability. Challenged to reverse it.
He sniffs around, in his endless safari, searching for the biggest prize.
The something, small thing, that will bring
his growing, and aging, so much closer to dying, collection alive.
Bottle and jar. Bottle and jar, labelled meticulous by this unorthodox scientist.
Human in form, but rabid in consciousness.
A canine, taunted by dreams of resurrection.
Out of time. ‘I’ is a step in time. Dangerous to trip out of time.
Out of time. The between beat limbo.
The territory of Spook.
Out of time.
The rhythm shot dead.
(Lights come up (blue/green tones) on narrator sitting on the floor in a very uncomfortable position (performers own choice!).)
I shifted buttocks and began to spin.
First one way, then the other.
Trying to focus on a lover that had wrapped itself in carpet.
Spinning blindly, eyes a flutter, I souped the slurp until it made no sense.
Orange peeling, layer after layer.
Twinkle, twinkle little lighted thing.
What sense to this ramble do you bring?
And somewhere a finger, loaded, pointed yesterday at I.
I stammered and watched the grass shoot skyward. (Narrator jerks head back as if hair is pulled from the back)
Contorted in a seemingly endless battle of nerves.
(Lights come up on narrator sitting on top of a wobbling pile of chairs. Rocking without falling.)
To begin, again, at the beginning.
It did all seem so strange. She blinked, gulping. Water pouring down her legs.
So strange, she repeated. Tum tum.
So strange and new, so green and blue.
A small. but precise turn and she saw it, through the blur, an unusual, but strangely familiar foot.
She watched as she reached out, seeking some contact, but it hopped away, leaving her behind.
“Today I am a small thing” it said.
“That’s precisely where I belong.” thought Alice.
Too far and few between they lay. The black dog and the white gull. It seemed like they belonged there.
She ducked, smiling, beguiling.
(Narrator clambers down from structure.)
(Narrator begins to pour green jar into blue jar and back again, over and over.)
Tides, washing up and flotsam, jetsam.
White sprays tinged with grey and floating matter, all too ready to latch onto the back of her brain.
Vultures disguised as gulls, snap and scream, waiting for the water’s waste to choke her up completely, then to swoop and gnaw.
Sneakily paranoid of their intentions.
Rocking in a sea-like motion, (narrator rocks) sailing her old memories and collecting all the junk, clogging up her veins.
Debris crying salty tears for the beautiful ocean she remembers, now a solid field of left behinds and waste.
Steadily smoking, the blind man choked.
Crossing and uncrossing. Peering politely and gritting his teeth.
“What number are you?”
And the small thing flew,
(Lights flit and spin again around the stage. Narrator attempts lazily to catch them.)
Past and up a vast chimney.
“Confused?” said a passing, passing as they do.
“So am I.”
And it turned tail (for they have tails) and ran.
(Narrator climbs up to the stage area. A blue back screen lights the whole stage. Using two children’s spinning, singing tubes, lit up with UV light, narrator creates the shadow effect of flying birds and a haunting singing-sound while narrating and moving slowly around the stage.)
Down inside a small, ring thing.
Smelling of coffee and dreaming of time.
Time to single out the little nothing touchable,
That fills the seams to bursting.
A solitary buckle-tag in a something over nothing equation.
Top heavy and trembling in a, now, empty mug.
Flew in frog steps, caught in a gauze,
Like moths too tired of flying to avoid the glare.
Simultaneously scratched by vivid illusions
And affected round tables with a strange void of interest.
Bumbling through a long corridor of salt-pillared, street walking.
Fumbling in pockets, full of triviality,
Screaming I cover myself in rain
That streams down my nose and tongue,
Swallowed, wets the lungs that make me tick. Tock.
Flocking minute murmur.
Stumbling in a freedom too huge to handle.
Reaching for a little sky to take away and share with all the persons lost and lonely…..ha ha.
(Narrator lights own face with a strong torch.)
Gulping overly, I downed the small thing and tried to communicate against a sudden strong wind,
“Shut up!” said the passing, passing as it does and licking its nose (for they have noses), winked and cried happily,
“It will only confuse you still further.”
Further, further, fathering further.
The feather of hope, the father of courage.
The courage to father the further you seek.
But it blew away.
Debris, the catcher and I.
All carefully ignored by a blind man, shouting numbers at the sky.
But the numbers don’t add up if you throw them at the universe,
And the jigsaw pieces don’t fit, ’cause the jigsaw puzzle’s gone,
And tick-tock minute -murmur, you cannot just stand there gaping,
As yesterday’s tomorrows are, today, just seconds long.
(Torch out. Show over.)
(Audience exits hall.)