20121220

Tom Beckett


APPEARANCES
FRAGMENTS 100-125 of a work in progress



100.

The Author is flat on its back on a driveway in a suburban neighborhood. Is it asleep? Or dead?

The Ventriloquist is making a chalk outline of the Author’s body while the Projectionist looks on.

The Hypnotist comes upon this scene and says, “Don’t forget to add a speech balloon to your drawing.” The Ventriloquist complies. Whereupon the Hypnotist intones, “Arise.”

The chalk outline, speech balloon attached, struggles to its feet, leaving the Author behind in its dust.


101.

The chalk outline has become the Chalk Outline, the darling—the project—of Vaudeville without Organs.

This is an important turning point. Ta-dah!


102.

What is the Chalk Outline but a bounded space? It is not the Author. It is not an archetype. And the Author has nothing to say about it.


103.

Vw/oO has made the Chalk Outline integral to its plans. There’s a lot at stake in terms of performance values. The Chalk Outline is a statement, a proposition, an Event, an intervention, but not a tabula rasa.


104.

Chalk Outline Observations

The Chalk Outline is a trace of the Author; it shouldn’t be confused with the Author, but it can be confused with almost anything else.

The Chalk Outline is often confused with a comic book character.

The Chalk Outline can support almost anyone’s projections. Without any of them of necessity sticking.

The Chalk Outline which can be spoken is not the Chalk Outline.


105.

The Chalk Outline, at times, seems to envelop much more than it can contain.


106.

The Chalk Outline is (at once) a frame, a territory and an unrealized potential.


107.

The Chalk Outline is not unlike a ghost with no memory.


108.

Things cohere in ways that experiences don’t.

The Projectionist is given to referring to the Chalk Outline as “Miss Thing.”

The Author is missing.


109.

Vw/o Organs Performance Text

The Cast of Characters assembles to encircle the Chalk Outline. Each cast member, in its turn, opines and/or directs remarks or questions to the Chalk Outline and one another —

The Ventriloquist: I made you.

The Hypnotist: I called you forth.

The Projectionist: I attended your creation.



Desire: Leave reality!

The Subject: Who is Reality?

An (Occasional) Other: You are the vanishing point I aspire to be.



Science: What are your parameters? Are you more than a perimeter? What is inside you? What’s your edge?

Art(hur): There is so much room in you!

Politics: I want to see you against something or someone.

Love: I see you.




History: What’s behind you?

It: I’m speechless. You’re so present.

The Virtual: You are…you are…

The Real: …you are both a portrait and a dream.


110.

The Chalk Outline exhausts definition.


111.

The Chalk Outline is not noticeably gendered.


112.

Vaudeville without Organs eagerly awaits the filling and re-filling of the Chalk Outline’s speech balloon.


113.
Twenty Recognitions (continued)

   1.     Knowledge emerges in retrospect.
   2.     The future is behind one.
   (to be continued?)


114.

The Chalk Outline appears agitated, jittery. Enough chalk dust has aerosolized around its lines that it appears to be wrapped in an aura.

Speaking of lines, lines and graphic marks are beginning to assemble inside of the Chalk Outline’s speech balloon.

The Cast of Characters are as one: rapt.


115.

As the Chalk Outline’s words begin to come together, Vw/oO separates from the circle of their fellow characters, huddle together and buzz.


116.

Hypnotist: What will appear?

Projectionist: Only (sigh!) signs.

Ventriloquist: Our script!


117.

The First Speech Balloon


HOW MUCH OF ONE’S LIFE IS FICTIONAL?


118.

The Second Speech Balloon


NATURE SCARES ME. SO DOES PARAPHRASE.


119.

The Third Speech Balloon

                AM I YOUR BLIND SPOT?


120.

As soon as each message is registered, it melts into the air breathed by VwoO and the rest of the Cast of Characters, where it is absorbed by their lungs and into their bloodstreams.


121.

The Ventriloquist, Projectionist and Hypnotist walk into a bar. The bartender refuses to serve their collective neuroses.

The Hypnotist: I believe that you know that you will.

Bartender: OK. What can I do for the lot of you?


122.

The Chalk Outline is still surrounded by the Cast of Characters (minus Vaudeville without Organs which is deep in its cups on the cusp of something in the bar).
The Chalk Outline is trembling like a saint in the grip of its Creator.


123.

The Chalk Outline fills and refills its speech balloon but not without a cost to itself. Chalk dust flies in the course of filling, erasing and refilling the balloon. And the dust settles not where it began. The Chalk Outline qua outline is becoming dimmer even as it “speaks.” Even as its utterances obtain a certain vibrancy—it, the Chalk Outline, is fading away.

The circle of Characters is becoming alarmed. Vw/oO, of course, has no idea what is happening. They appear to be missing in action.

124.

Vaudeville without Organs has not been inactive at the bar. Karaoke has been sung. (Ironically several backing tracks featured Wurlitzers.) Games of pool have been played. Libations have been quaffed. Snacks have been consumed.
And the Ventriloquist has gone out on an errand.

125.

Slowly, gradually, inevitably the Chalk Outline has been reduced to a pile of dust and to a handful of utterances. There are disputes about some of what the Chalk Outline “said” and disputes about all of what was meant, all of what might be drawn from the experience of the Chalk Outline’s appearance and disappearance. There is, however, no disputing what its last utterance was:

AM I ONLY THE SUM OF MY EXPRESSIONS?



Tom Beckett lives and writes in Kent, Ohio.
 
 
previous page     contents     next page
 

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger