The Role of Triumphant Post-Industrial Capitalism in the Formation of the Early Twenty-First Century Personality (2005)
May 24th, 2014 by David
The script, written in 2004, demonstrates how very quickly certain cultural references become as dated as black and white television despite the passage of only ten years. The reader must imagine, for example, that the term ‘GPS’ was obscure and exotic back then. Mind you, this writer can remember when there was no such thing as bottled water.
An enclosed rectangular performance space was built in the theatre with a gallery running around its perimeter. The audience was seated in the gallery and looked down upon the action.
Part I consists of twelve sets of lines. The lines are spoken one at a time by the three actors one after the other. The characters wear underwear only and are wired into the electricity mains. After each set of lines is delivered the characters get punished for their poor attitudes with electric shocks. The shocks escalate in intensity until the characters know better.
The actors were Gerard Bell, Barney Power and Bernadette Russell, whose abbreviated surnames preface their dialogue lines in Part II.
People don’t want to be doctors.
It’s too difficult.
It takes too long.
People when they get ill must look after themselves.
When you cut yourself you must sew it up with cotton and a clean needle.
If you break your arm you must tie it up tight between two firm sticks.
The bridges aren’t particularly safe.
A car went through one last week.
When the bridges break they close them but people still try to get across on them.
Just because one car went through doesn’t mean they’ll all go through.
You can see the hole where one went through so obviously you avoid that hole.
There’s quite a few bridges you can still get across.
It’s very hot which is nice.
You can wear just your shirt or plus a light top, a zipper top, all the year.
And there are flowers all the year.
There’s a fair amount of rain but nothing like the cold.
They have cold elsewhere, towards the north.
Most people up there have left anyway.
People are in their homes.
Everybody has a computer.
Food is brought round.
Or you can get it in the street.
Things to heat up.
The films come out at the end of the week.
You can be in them if you want.
Some people like to be in the films and others like the actors to be in them.
If you’re in them you’re not in the story but your face is.
You don’t know what’s going to happen next.
Your face doesn’t see what the actors see, I think.
Sometimes people don’t show up.
That’s what it’s like.
Every effort is made to minimise the terrible threats.
We shall not sleep until this business is put to bed.
When something happens you know nothing much will happen for a while.
So you feel better, you shouldn’t but you do.
People want to be dentists.
It’s not too hard.
It’s only a small area.
People’s teeth need the work.
They don’t last that long.
They’re like children’s teeth.
The zoos are very good.
You have to book in advance.
They have just about everything.
They have birds and a whole range of dogs.
Children love the birds.
They can’t imagine how they fly.
If you are lucky then good luck will happen to you from time to time.
If you are unlucky then good luck will happen slightly less to you.
Luckily, most people are lucky.
It could be anything – a gift of unexpected money or a big advantage.
There’s nothing you can do to make it happen.
It will happen to most people sooner or later.
There’s not much can be done for you.
Which is why you must live in the city.
In the country you must look after yourself.
There are no doctors or dentists there.
There’s no food there.
There are no animals there.
People are starting to move into space.
There’s a lot of it!
I don’t think they know where they’re going.
They’re the lucky ones.
They’ll find somewhere.
Many planets are like ours.
The lifespan is about right.
It took some tinkering.
Fifty years is a long time.
More would be nice.
You see some quite old ones sometimes.
The things they remember!
Now that they have changed their attitudes the characters receive their reward – a bottle of wine and clothes and makeup flown down on a table. The reformed characters will groom themselves: the lady will apply makeup and high heels etc and the gentlemen will don stylish jackets and ties etc. This can take as long as it takes.
For this scene all lights, including house lights are brought up.
Music plays over this episode:
Lights down, to a new state.
BARN And Bouncy was gorgeous!
BERN You call her Bouncy?
BARN Isn’t that how you pronounce it?
BERN (LAUGHS) You monkey!
GERD I preferred her when she was J-Lo.
BARN Same arse.
BERN No! J-Lo is streets ahead.
GERD They both have very good skin.
BERN Gorgeous skin! God, I’d love skin like that!
BARN Do you moisturise?
BERN Do I moisturise!? Come on!
GERD It’s not the cream so much as the water, you know.
BERN Well, yes. The cream is a way of conveying water into the skin. The actual cream is for the surface but it’s the water that plumps the skin up.
BARN I use fragrances.
GERD That’s very different. They de-moisturise.
BERN Of course – they’ve got alcohol in them. It evaporates and dries the skin.
BARN You can’t win.
GERD You could use a neutral moisturiser. One without fragrance.
BARN I don’t know if I can be bothered.
BERN Guess where we went last night.
BARN The railway station.
BERN No! The new Mac shop.
GERD In Regent Street.
BERN It’s a palace! It’s totally amazing!
GERD It is extraordinary.
BERN I just want everything.
GERD And what did you get?
BARN She got the iPod.
BARN It’s obvious.
GERD Not the Mini.
BARN Waste of money. 4 gig. Too small.
BERN But they’re cute!
GERD For another fifty quid you can get 10 gig.
BERN What does that mean?
BARN Two thousand songs.
BERN Bloody hell!
GERD Still, they’re good in the gym. Not too heavy.
BERN I know. I’ve been doing yoga with it. Brilliant.
GERD Are you still doing Iyengar?
BERN I’ve moved on to Astanga. It’s awesome.
GERD It seems a bit frantic.
BERN No! Exactly not! It’s in tune with city life, that’s the point – the pace of it.
BARN It’s not restful though, is it?
BERN Well, Cormorant says – he’s my teacher…
BARN Is that his name?
BERN Yeah. Well, it’s his teaching name. His real name is Steve.
GERD What does he say?
BERN He says it’s like a homeopathic yoga: you treat same with same.
BERN Like city life is full of speed and stress and this goes into your body so you cure it with a speedy practise.
BARN I don’t agree. You should try hot yoga. Really hammers it out of you.
BERN In a sauna?
BARN Can be. You sweat your guts out. But you get fantastic stretches.
GERD You do it?
BARN I went once. Awesome. I have to say it makes you fucking thirsty.
GERD Little herb tea or something?
BARN I have to say, again: a little pint.
BARN I was reading, they used to have this drink in the fifties, called the Dog’s Nose. Appalling.
BARN A pint, right, with two shots of gin in.
BARN No. Blows your head off.
BARN Francis Bacon used to drink it.
BERN Well, there you are. Say no more.
GERD I love his stuff.
BERN He’s done Kate Moss.
GERD That’s Lucien Freud.
BARN Son of the famous.
BERN Is he his son?
GERD Or grandson – can’t remember.
BARN What do you think about all that?
GERD What? Psychoanalysis?
GERD I don’t need it.
BARN I didn’t say you did.
BERN (TO GERD) That’s paranoid.
GERD No. It’s probably fine.
BARN If you’re nuts.
BERN You know what, I think a lot of it’s diet.
BARN There may be nuts in this bar. (HE LAUGHS AT HIS OWN JOKE)
BERN Seriously – all the shit we’re eating. It alters your mood.
GERD Where was it – they fed these prisoners on a low fat and sugar diet and the violence just dropped.
BARN People don’t drink enough water.
GERD Does it change your mood?
BARN It makes you younger.
BERN That’s actually not possible.
BARN I don’t mean literally.
GERD You said it literally.
BARN If you drink two litres a day…
GERD Six glasses.
BARN …you glow.
BARN Not literally.
BERN You said glow.
GERD It’s certainly good for the skin.
BARN I prefer to moisturise.
GERD What do you use?
BARN Something with a pleasant smell. I don’t like fragrances.
BERN Why? You can get gorgeous ones.
BARN They dry the skin out. They’re basically alcohol.
GERD Actually aromas can change your mood. You can de-stress with various aroma combinations.
BERN You can get aromatic yoga oil.
BARN George Bush!
BARN What can you say?
BARN I’ve got some great photos on my phone.
BERN Nothing saucy, I hope.
BARN No. The other night.
GERD Oh dear.
BARN Well might you say that.
BERN What’s he doing?
BARN I’ll show you later. Fascinating stuff.
GERD Oh dear.
BERN God! My friend has this phone from Japan. It’s got GPS on it.
GERD What’s GPS?