We have spent the last three days writing the script, readying it for tuesday’s presentations. It’s been painstakingly slow.
Draft One of ‘Longing’ – Trigorin’s Experience
Welcome to As It Appears In Dreams, an immersive performance. For part of this experience, you will be the only audience member. Don’t worry, you’re quite safe, the headphones will explain everything you have to do.
You’re about to be handed an envelope, containing an emergency map of Regent’s Park, in case you at any point feel unsafe or lost. Please only open in case of such an emergency, which is unlikely to happen. Someone is always close at hand if you’re feeling uncomfortable.
Please let me know if you feel your headphones are too quiet or too loud?
Are you ready? Wonderful.
Now, wave goodbye. I’ll be seeing you very soon.
Conor starts to walk towards the lake.
On arriving at the park, you stop at the entrance, feeling exhausted from a day of searching. You’ve been all over the city. It’s felt like days, weeks even. There’s a small sense of relief in your chest, and you’re quite grateful your search has taken you away from the busy streets into a green, open space, a canopy of leaves shielding you from the sky above. You move to the tree on your left, (pause) feeling out for the caress of rough bark underneath your fingertips. There’s so much life here, you feel it beneath your hands and under your feet. The park has rejuvenated you.
You look ahead towards the lake, (beat) and there he is. It feels as though the red of his shirt has taunted you for so long, you might as well have followed him into sleep. You can only see the back of his head, but it’s as though his sly, charming smile is looking right at you. Teasing you. He wants to keep playing the game. He wants you to follow. And you know, for all your doubts you just can’t help but keep chasing him.
Slowly, you step away from the tree and start moving towards him. He’s so close after all. And this game is only just beginning.
Audience member walks to water’s edge/Conor. On almost reaching him, Conor places red origami boat 1 on the ground, containing miniature Conor. Delay.
You watch as he places something, in the same shade of red as his shirt, on the ground. It’s tiny, toy-like, but you know it’s for you. Your pace quickens, wanting to get close, but so does his, as he turns left, heading away, further up the path.
You stop and watch him, feeling torn between what he’s left and where he’s going. Do you follow? Or reach out for what might be a clue? You head towards the lakeside – you can’t ignore the gift he’s left for you.
You kneel down, and pick up what appears to be a small, red, origami boat. You can’t deny it’s pretty well-made, the folds perfectly in line. Inside is a small miniature man, seeming to resemble the very man you’re following, red shirt and all. You’re bewildered, frustrated. What’s it all meant to mean?
You turn the boat over and over in your hands. It’s simple, delicate, but at the same time clever. How it was made eludes you.
You notice on the sail, in small hand-writing it says, ‘open me’.
Feverishly you do, carefully unfolding and smoothing out the creases until the boat has disappeared into a flat sheet of paper.
On it is a note. It reads:
‘Only traces of me remain.’
You read it over and over. Traces. Remain. Me.
You look back to the small figure, now in your hand. It feels whole, tangible. Sturdy but at the same time, as though if it were to fall, it would shatter, turning to dust.
‘Only traces of me remain’. It echoes through your mind. You keep a hold of the note, and hold the miniature figure in your hand, protecting it.
Looking up, you see him, slightly distant but still distinguishable. You turn left and carry on up the path, continuing to follow him, though keeping a distance. Where is he going? Why does he want you to follow? You wonder why you’re playing this game, but at the same time it’s thrilling.
Musical Interlude. Delay.
You pass the boathouse on your right, a small circular pond on the left. You see him turn a corner, disappearing into the shrubbery. You keep following, turning right towards a blue bridge.
Walking across the bridge, you stop and look right – a parting in the trees allowing you to see across the lake. It’s tranquil, picturesque. You could look at this view forever, but a glint of red catches your eye. He’s close. You keep moving.
Stepping off the bridge, you head left, the surrounding wilderness pulling you into the dark metal archways that rise from the ground to meet the trees. Passing underneath you are washed with dappled light and a fleeting feeling of peace. You find yourself reaching up towards the branches that entangle the archway. (Beat)
Nothing matters. The world might as well be empty and an eternity could pass but nothing would change in this place.
The archway guides you to face the lake. You stop in the last arch, and obnoxiously there he is, facing the water. He seems to be bent over something, his shoulders hunched forward. By his feet is another red object – it must be another boat, another message. He slowly places a second and a third by his feet.
He turns, his gaze meets yours, he’s smiling at you – there is something behind his eyes. You can tell he’s enjoying this. All the moves and countermoves. Suddenly the park no longer feels like a haven. It’s a game board, and you don’t know who is a piece and who is a player.