Don’t know if you remember, but the show had been interrupted. Right before the end. Some kids had come into the theatre holding banners and shouting slogans, like ‘You can’t murder our dreams’. What do you mean ‘why’? Because a few days ago he had been gunned down. What do you mean ‘who’? Did you forget him? It was December. Don’t you remember? We were together.
Remember how we went to that same theatre a year later? Remember what happened? I mean the applause. Not in the end, in the middle of the show. When the memorable quote was heard: ‘What is robbing a bank compared with founding one?’. Then they all applauded. All who thought Brecht was the banker’s apologist. They didn’t get the irony. Morons. Again, we were together.
The other day, though, you didn’t come. I went alone, because you had gotten caught up in something. Took a rain check. Thank God you did. It was such a deadly bore. Sometimes I watch a play without really paying attention. At best –that is, when at least I like the text– I simultaneously imagine another direction. No guts to just walk out. I know this has never been your problem.
I didn’t even notice how all these people came onstage. They were just audience members. ‘Somewhat Pirandellian’, I thought, stupidly, ‘if not meta-theatrical’. But it wasn’t planned. I sat looking on with a bovine expression on my face, until I realized what was actually happening. Later, at home, I relived the entire incident in my mind over again. I didn’t know if I was feeling more relieved or offended. Relieved that no blood had been shed or offended exactly because of that. I kept thinking, well that would be fun. Bloodshed all over and us clapping our hands, laughing and shouting for more. I’m sure I was not the only one to have this thought cross my mind.
I say ‘we’ and ‘us’, as if we were together, but in fact we weren’t. Anyhow, you get what I’m saying. Don’t take me wrong.
How could I take you wrong? We always look at the tightrope walker with the inner hope they would slip. We marvel at the virtuosity, yet secretly crave after the fatal fall. But how would we react at that moment? What would we do if our inner desire materialized, and the artist really broke their neck? Sprinkled with their blood, would we mourn or would we celebrate, as you say?
And, tell the truth, didn’t it strike you to witness a reversal of the parabasis right in front of your eyes? Normally it is the chorus that addresses the audience, breaking the convention of the (safe) distance and, thus, bringing them closer. What happened here was the opposite. And it became dangerous. A fierce crowd got on the stage ready for action.
Something slightly more charming had happened once. Again, we were together. A spectator shouted ‘Toss the 5 card…’ and the actor continued the verse: ‘…cries the dead murderer’. Then I, Mr. know-all, whispered happily to your ear ‘this is by Sachtouris’. Later, it became obvious they hadn’t planned it, as the spectator shouted angrily ‘Theatre died with Ibsen!’, to which the director (who was also acting) replied ‘This is theatre here, it’s not twitter!’. Again, we were watching Brecht.
Recently, with all the snow that fell, I heard a long cracking sound, and I came to the window. A tree had fallen on my car. I was laughing hysterically, icebound by the radiator, unable to intervene in the farce played against me. I kept shouting ‘I want my money back! Do you hear me? Give me my money back!’ The neighbours had come out to the window to see what was going on. Any blood spilt? Nope, just that loser’s car. Oh well.
Do you ever cast a furtive glance to the one sitting next to you? I remember you absorbed, madly in love with the protagonist, holding on to the seat in front of you, unconsciously opening and closing your legs. I was staring at you like a fool, searching for your eyes – which you kept denying. What must I do to draw your attention? Interrupt the show?
Yes, I remember. We were together. Me and you and everyone else.