Dissolved notes from early workshops
Julian Maynard Smith writes a piece inspired by the technology used Station House Opera’s new project Dissolved.
Dissolved is built on a series of explorations into how telematic space may affect the behaviour and perception of those within it:
One performer is forced into a collapse because of the other’s innocent action. The other is then obliged to collapse, even though no cause is present. A mask might hide her face, but not her other face. And if she has two mirrors, each shows a different face.
Someone’s face is a melon sliced in half with a knife and falling to the ground.
A mutual picture is drawn, neither knowing quite what it is.
People dress up, and dress up again, always changing, unable to come to a decision, until finally an absurd one is reached.
Someone is intent on stealing, but the other botches it, and has to decide whether to break ranks to steal it again, thus exposing them both.
One steals a kiss, tells a lie, and sleeps, while the other behaves well and dies.
One hides from another by jumping into the body of a third.
A cloth over her head reveals a man never seen before.
She hides in a non-existent cupboard.
She grows a beard.
Black and white fuse together.
When the two are together as one, they speak together as one might talk to oneself, but each can hear the people their own space too, but not in the other.
Conversations are ambivalent and misleading.
Her eyes change as one closes her eyes and the other opens hers. Eyes open upon eyelids, blinking, turning on and off. Eyes seeing a different space alternately, determining what happens next.
One dancing by himself turns and becomes two; he has found a partner.
One hides from someone by hiding under the table; she is discovered because the one in the other space is under a table with no tablecloth.
The light goes on as the light goes off: the scene changes, even though it does not.
A character moves around the space without ever being seen, always moving when the light is on in the other space.
Walking in front of someone reveals someone altogether different in their place.
Two antagonists go for the same weapon and find themselves as one, fighting a non-existent enemy.
A delegation of ghosts, sitting behind ghost tables, is undone by one of them suddenly blazing out solid and colourful.
Two people disappear into each other leaving nothing.
Two people as one move from position to position, forever unstable in the expression of certainty, doubt, anxiety, confidence, confusion, panic.
He always takes the one he wants, leaving the other behind, until he finds himself taking the one he doesn’t want. Because she has decided to take the one she wants.
An innocent is merely a criminal undiscovered by the others.
A crowd walking together becomes a solid mass.
They meet in a space where they cannot meet.
Identical spaces with identical actions slowly diverge, into a drawing room and a workshop, a teapot substituted by a heavy iron vice, a window by a ladder, leading to inevitable tragedy.
As she turns the lamp off, he turns it on. For a moment they are the same person.
Different couples are revealed.
Everyone who has ever been in the space slowly appears as might your ancestors, indistinguishable, watching, perched on every available surface.
Julian Maynard Smith