live scripted performance | 1991

Duration approximately 60 minutes

Multiple domestic ceiling lights hang over the stage. A performer  walks around a marked square on the floor and stops; he stands still for a moment and leaves. Another performer takes his place on the same spot. The performers seem to learn the positions from each other. The positions acquire casual poses or stances through repetition and eventually these positions are given names. The performers take a place, shout the name associated with this place and run to a new position. They run from position to position to keep up a conversation between the characters, defined by these places. The characters emerge as members of an extended family. The performers have to remember the names, positions of the characters, the characters who are being addressed and the particular subject of the conversation between the two. The three performers run from place to place to maintain the static picture.

The game changes as the performers give each other objects to hold as another way to identify the characters, which enables the characters to move. The game, reminiscent of pass the parcel and musical chairs, is frantically played to prevent the picture collapsing.

Performed by Andrew Davenport, Neale Goodrum, Gary Stevens and Caroline Wilkinson.

Lighting and technical assistance: Beth Hardisty.

Previous performances

First version for two performers:

  • Kings College, CAMBRIDGE
  • Heatwave Festival, Serpentine Gallery, LONDON
  • ICA Theatre, LONDON
  • Goldsmiths’ College Gallery, LONDON

Second version for three:

  • Brighton Festival, Zap Club, BRIGHTON
  • Old Museum Art Centre, BELFAST
  • Shaftsbury hall, CHELTENHAM
  • The Leadmill, SHEFFIELD
  • The Green Room, MANCHESTER
  • Purcell Room, South Bank, LONDON
  • Scottish Highlands: Ballachulish, Lyth, Skerray
  • The Lemon Tree, ABERDEEN, Scotland
  • The Haymarket Studio, LEICESTER
  • Chisenhale Gallery, LONDON 
  • Now 92, Powerhouse, NOTTINGHAM
  • Mayfest, CCA, GLASGOW

‘Names impose labels, and establish social as well as individual identities, so these three casually switch names, the men taking on female names, or all three adopting the same name and identity by contributing in rotation to the one, drawn out sentence. They leap from one position to another, to allow them to recreate caricature forms of melodramatic tales of infidelity and betrayal, or to recall quiet domestic scenes…’ 
The Scotsman
‘it takes another twist. It becomes like pass the parcel, with roles being handed over to another player who has to keep the story going… The sheer complexity of the structure, with its apparent randomness, constantly challenges the audience…’ 
The Herald
‘Soon it becomes clear that the stage is a room full of people… the cast of three move faster and faster from seat to seat, in a bid to keep up continuity. Finally the mental plate-spinning becomes too much. The players lose the thread and the thin veneer of make believe falls away…. all the appeal of a crossword, and all the frustration of a Rubik’s cube. Like it or loathe it, this highly original piece of work stays in the mind much longer than anticipated, ghostly echoes of the ghostly Green family imprinted, like an old photograph, on the brain.’ 
Belfast Telegraph