Act I, Scene I: It is a small room but it has many openings connecting it with other similar rooms. It is seen from the top view. All the rooms are empty but the walls pulsate, sometimes faster and sometimes slower. The set is alive to the rhythm of breath.
“If it is quite the same to you, I would prefer not being a supporting character in my own story.”
As she screams those words to herself, she sees herself for the first time. A new journey begins which, at least initially, is characterised by loneliness and doubt. Slowly, she sheds off all those people who took her to be a minor character. She stops herself; she catches herself as a player in someone else’s stage directions. She is surprised: the habit has defined her, her whole life. Slowly she starts writing her own script in a very shaky hand on a clean white blank sheet of paper, that suddenly looks impossible to fill. Where should she begin? How should she begin? Doubt grips her constantly; the mission of starring in her own life consumes her. She even has to learn what this means. In her quest for arresting the habit of reacting and swerving, her whole life cannot simply become a reaction against everything. She has to start thinking for herself.
Act I, Scene II: Exiting her mind, we now we look at her from the outside – a projection on a screen. It is not clear who authors the projections: is it the person who sees her or is it her own projection of how they see her?
A.Z. sees her dressed in a dark blue polka dot dress with big white buttons. It is fashionable. She appears to be with the times and definitely inclines towards conservatism.
B.Y. speaks to her on the phone and notes: her voice is soft and that she says the word ‘sorry’, frequently. B.Y. surmises that she lacks confidence. She is a project.
C.X. catches her at exactly that moment when she is deep in thought, she is thinking about lunch choices. She looks serious.
D.W. watches her trip over her own feet, laughing at herself as she picks herself up. D.W. involuntarily smiles and is charmed.
E.V., F.U. and, G.T. work with her or more accurately work in a team that she heads. She terrifies them. Her ambition overwhelms them. They see themselves as pawns in her game.
H.S. loves her. The reason is unclear. I.R. doesn’t see her and no one can say why.
J.Q. is her boss. She is reliable; she is competent. She is a soldier, not an officer. J.Q. does not give her much thought beyond the completion of the work at hand.
K.P. goes to the gym with her. She is determined for sure.
L.O. knows her from kindergarten. They have parted innumerable times but are still best friends. L.O. knows her and she knows L.O. – at least that is what they tell each other and everyone else they meet.
M.N. wishes to be seen by her.
Act I, Scene III: Diving back into her mind. The set is quivering and vibrating. Right in the centre of the set is a dark void. It is impossible to see into it but every once in a while it lights up quickly. Blink and one would miss it.
In her self-awareness she is both more and less, a star of her own life. Every thought is calibrated, weighed, analysed, scripted. She is the consummate modern project; she is her own consummate modern project.
As a project she recedes into the background. The flash of the ‘slip’ becomes ever more relevant.
Image: Méret oppenheim – Breakfast in Fur (1936)