I’m standing in a queue waiting to get into my own show. The queue is a long line that loops around, resolving itself in an ellipse. I have audience members in front of, behind, and across from me, though not so close that I can touch them.
Each of us is holding a ticket that is alive, splashing a kaleidoscope of colour onto our faces and torsos. It’s all shape and form and angles, hard to read and designed for experience-only. Slowly, the moving images pixelate and reassemble into a three-dimensional holographic theatre environment, only now we’re in Zagreb where my artistic partners are co-presenting our artwork, which is immersive, transportive and telepathic, and all the codes of theatre have been re-programmed and re-configured and it’s hard to say whether it’s narrative, or genre, or media, live, pre-recorded, projected, ingested, because we’re in a deferred space, well at least our bodies are because they’re still in Melbourne but the rest of us is in Zagreb and, because it’s an avant-premiere, the audience is chock full of presenters, friends, supporters, bureaucrats, and donors who have ‘come’ from all over Europe, all over the world, only no one’s left their lounge room, office, bar, or whichever location they choose to enter the ‘performance’ from. It’s quite a rollercoaster, this show, until it stalls, stops, and then surrounds you like a meditation. One deep, long, sustained breath, exhale, and it’s over.
I let the turning turn into a low hum, warm my voice, and walk onto a dark and empty stage. I click on the only light in the space, a naked globe, small enough to hold in my hand and I say to the audience, “Finished, it’s finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished…” (or some such awesome quote from Sam B). It’s clear they don’t know what to make of it, whether it’s part of the show in Zagreb or the beginning of the show in Melbourne, and neither do I ’cos we’re all stuck together in a liminal space between the tenses, past, present, future, provisionally altered and manufactured by our collective resistance to understand where we are, what we’re doing, thinking, and feeling. It has to end of course, sanity insists on it, and all of a sudden everyone and everything has dissolved but me and Samuel who says nothing, just drills me with that quizzical baby-blue stare, waiting for the moment to strike a non-verbal blow to my sub-conscious, to prompt me into remembering his lines from whichever of his writings I’ve filed away but nothing happens. Nothing happens! Nobody comes, nobody goes, try again, fail again, fail better. Nothing happens. Bugger. Words are all that we have. What is that unforgettable line? Oh yes. The end is in the beginning and yet you go on. Audience applauds, or would, if they were still there.
David Pledger, 2018.