By the Glimmer of a Half-Extinguished Light
undead was planned to be presented at the Pearce Institute. It is a finished piece of work running at 1 hour, but was unable to be publicly performed due to COVID- 19.
undead is an attempt to tell the story of a cyborg body emergent from the in-between spaces. It is the story of an experiment, a dissection, where biology and fiction entangle to create new potential forms. Using only a projector, water, a body, and a lit candelabra, this world exists somewhere between a clean, futuristic sci-fi, and the obsolete technologies of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - between a performance space lined with chairs, and a moorland watched by the keen eye of a raven. There is a rifting between realities, dissonant and eerie. An uncanniness grows as these once familiar bodies become strange and begin to un-align - bodies which must now consider an identity that sits between the living and the dying, where everything has shadows and spirits come to life!
"The air is thick with mist. We feel it sitting on our skin, like sweat, or slime, or snot. The draining colors of twilight float within the fog, the horizon is hazed, as the sun, somewhat suddenly, dips beneath the earth, no longer visible. The immanent darkness does not stop us from moving forward, further into the landscape. As far as we can see, it is bleak and barren, no forest to create obstacles for the bitter, stinging wind.
If we look above, A lone Raven flies promptly, to further set the scene, across the dreary sky. We realise the hem of our dress has been spoiled in the muddy ravines. once, splendid threads, now hardened by muck, it makes us heavy, yet feels strikingly romantic.
Over here, the fields turn to moorland, beneath low-growing shrubbery, we do not notice the change in state until our foot squelches deep into the gunky sludge below. This messy layer is hidden under heather and gorse, who’s bloom has faded with the sun, but still leaves the sweet smell of coconut. We don’t know where the water starts or how deep the grass goes, but we keep wading through. A damp dusk begins to fall.
Listen, strange noises fill the air, predictably, the howling of wolves, and the whistling of the wind, as if a woman were wailing somewhere beyond the fog. The mist begins to tighten, and close in around us, we can hardly see what might be lurking at arms length. We can see the moonlight begin to sift through the mist, or maybe it is just those stage lights.
Our feet are drenched and bare, shivering in the belly water below. Our feet feel lost but somehow we find a floor to stand on, maybe black dancefloor.
Over here, there are the windows that are conveniently covered with blackout blinds to keep the light out, as the marshes grow darker and darker. The fog begins to retreat, revealing faces, peering in at us, sitting in this room with us.
These faces have bodies, which wear simple clothes, that are clean and specifically chosen to punctuate indistinct differences in character. There are chairs lined on either side of us, marking out a space in between, empty but ready to be filled.
There are two bottles filled with water, sitting humbly by the side, staying contained, and there is an abundance of electronics to one end. Look at us. Look at us all looking at this body here. The room is a lot bigger than this body. This body looks familiar in this room. The arrangement of things becomes clear for a moment. "