Thursday, October 14, 2010

FIREFLY CIRCLE, Marc Jensen and Heath Mathews

Marc Jensen and Heath Mathews

Each performer is given a raucous, handheld musical instrument prior to the performance.

There are eight stations spread throughout the space in a roughly circular spacing. At the beginning of the piece, each station contains two lights. Over the course of the piece, players will gradually pick up the lights.

At the beginning of the piece, players are distributed randomly around the periphery of the space. At the signal to begin, each player walks to the nearest station. From the container at the station, draw a card and roll the die. The card will either say “Play” or “Light.” Always keep your card, rather than putting it back in the container.

• If the card says “Play,” you will play your instrument in any fashion while proceeding to the next station. Whatever number comes up on the die, walk past that many stations before stopping at another station.

• If the card says “Light,” pick up one of the lights and walk with it, carrying it with you for the rest of the piece. Once you pick up a light, you are no longer allowed to play your instrument. Players with lights will no longer pick up cards when they stop at stations, but will only roll the die and walk to another station.

After picking up a light, you may choose to quietly sing long tones for the remainder of the piece as you walk, but do not talk or make any other intentional sound.

When both of the lights have been removed from a station, it is no longer in play, which means that you may not stop at it. When there is only one station left, everyone who already has a light should mill around that final station, with only the people playing instruments actually walking away from it. When all of the lights have been removed from all stations, all players should congregate together, and on a given signal, run out in all directions from the performance space, ending the piece.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bathroom by Chris Shillock

The young husband stirs in bed. Consciousness reclaims him, turgidly: firsthis skin feels the smooth sheets, the weight of the cover; his limbs retract into the warm pockets around him. His arm brushes across his wife's skin and he becomes aware of her sleeping body. The memory of her words leaps into his mind: "We have to talk about it!” she’d said. “We can't go on like this!"

Protectively, he freezes. Finally he becomes aware of the strains on his own body, one knee held out at an angle, his tender erection compelled, he realizes, not by lust, but by his bladder.

If he moves and doesn’t disturb the bed, he can stand without stirring up the endless and sour arguments dormant at his side. He shifts his weight to the outer side of the bed and sits up slowly, sliding the covers off his naked torso. His skin tightens and adjusts to the cold air. He leans forward in a slow falling motion so that the mattress is relieved imperceptibly of his weight.

Finally he stands straight, not daring to check behind him. He shuffles along in the dark, feeling for obstacles and keeping his bare soles close to the warmth of the wood floor.

When he reaches the ceramic tile in the bathroom, he gropes above the sink for the light switch, averting his eyes. He misses, fumbles around the wall, looks up, finds the cord and pulls. The sudden antiseptic glare stabs his open pupils. The shock of cold white tile in his eyes and on his bare feet have reduced his erection to a manageable angle. He relieves himself in a warm stream. His bladder, his sphincters relax, his eyes unfocus. Unbidden the objects in the bathroom invade his vision one by one. The porcelain tank in front of him is covered by something like a small shag rug: pale, fuzzy green worms emerging from an elasticized cloth. He does not recognize the three, no four, objects sitting lightly on top of the cover. Stiff cardboard, plastic, paper and melting soap. Senseless raw materials assembled in front of him to make up what his mind struggles to give names to: eyebrow liner, Kleenex box with a paper tongue poking out, soap dish with a bar of soap stuck to it.

He tries to remember why these things are here. The cogs of industry and commerce have somehow meshed to bring them to him for his rituals of cleansing and purgation, to this dazzling white room where his flesh fights against the daily processes of digestion, dirt and decay. And yet the Objects swim in front of him, alien, repellent yet passive and exhausted by their own discrete existences.

He flushes the toilet and lowers the seat. "We have to talk!" she had said. He looks around the bathroom seeking some reason, some connection. More objects coagulate out of the cold heavy air: glass jars of oily cream, brown bottles of dry vitamins, a used razor blade, rumpled towels. Details congeal onto surfaces: short soapy hairs on the blade of the razor, a thin ring of grime around the bathtub, mildew discoloring the gray grout between the wall tiles.

Automatically he heads towards the door and stops at the sink. He is trapped by the mirror. Beyond the rust that blooms underneath the silvered surface, everything in the world becomes pointlessly doubled. He looks at his face, past his shadowed chin, his nose, his large pores, into two wary uneven eyes. A reptilian intelligence stares nakedly back at him and he knows that he is alone and that there is no one in the world he trusts.

Originally published in Issue 8, 2006