Arc: in response to…

One morning in Stockton…
(about as far away from one night in Bangkok as it’s possible to be)

We were wondering how interested we are in creating work that directly responds to current political events – news. And so we gave each other 30 minutes to do that. Most current in the news that morning was the ongoing ‘analysis’ of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

I devised a secret agent, hiding/seeking type game for Chris and Clare to play. I wanted to play with heightening everyone’s sense of being in a place together,  encourage a sharper/shifted sense of looking/seeing, and make the building feel more active than it might ordinarily be. Chris and Clare were unaware that, while they were looking for the terror suspect that was hiding somewhere in the building (whilst also not blowing their cover as secret agents)  I’d recruited everyone else in the cafe and public areas (staff and punters) to play too – in an easy-to-play, fun, gentle way. It did make the place feel different – more active. Obviously, I suppose. And it was funny. And fun. As a result Annabel has invited us to create a game for Arc that is permanently installed/present/available for customers/audiences to play there. Which is brilliant. It’s something I’d been planning to make as part of our new relationship with/at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, so I’m made up that someone like Annabel thinks it is A Good Thing.

Chris wrote a monologue called “When We Came Home”. It has, rather amazingly for Chris, no swears in it…
(the sound however is a little out of synch for some reason. We’re waiting for an upgrade to the internet…)
[vimeo 23674993]

And Clare wrote a scene between President Obama and a man called Simon  (who Clare described as being “basically Josh from the West Wing“) which Chris and I performed to Arc staff, American accents and all. Clare was the British Woman…

11th May 2011
On the Death of Osama

Two male actors are standing in front of a large blank square.

You can’t

You can’t afford not to. It’s a reflex, like sneezing. You get dust up
your nose, you sneeze. You see a man shot through the eye, you gag.

I don’t.

Well everyone else does, Simon

Not everyone.

Most people. Most people who vote for me, vote for me
because they can’t imagine what a picture like this looks like.

It’s been described. They know he’s been shot through the eye.
That it’s gruesome. It’s no worse than the movies.
No worse than your fancy Shakespeare. An eye for 6000.

Jesus. They might THINK that. But if they see THIS… they will gag.


Then when they see me they’ll gag too. They’ll see that hole every time they see me.
That bone. It’ll stick in their guts. They don’t want to see it.

Listen. (sound of crowds) They’re panting for it.

Sound of crowds continues. The sound of crowds might be a show tune from a Kurt Weil songbook, or anything that you wouldn’t expect, enough to feel uneasy.

Something about her. I want to say something about her, but I don’t know her name.
I don’t know how old she is. I don’t know if she was his wife, or lover or prostitute.
Did she care for him. I imagine her like Mary Magdalene, washing his feet, drying his feet with her hair.
Honouring the great man with all her beauty, her empire of knowledge, of pleasure.
I imagine her clever, loyal, scared. Perhaps she has dreamt this would happen one day.
Perhaps she heard the hawk before anyone else. Perhaps that’s why she was shot first.
She heard the silence of the blades in her dreams just before they crashed against the wall of their suburban castle.

I think I know that she was there and they say she died trying to protect him.


That’s what we did one half hour, one morning in Stockton…