Restless Eye

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A performance text for the Advanced Beginner Group/David Neumann. Restless Eye premiered at New York Live Arts in March, 2012.

Read Sample

“Doingk.” ALL look. The piano, now suddenly lit by a theatrical spotlight, looks back at them, unashamed, defiant from within its great swaths of plastic.

MANAGER’S SPECIAL: The site of the church-like structure of Act II is now the Fortunoff parking lot off Rt. 9.
PRICE CHECK: Where are the “objects” from you? Meat department, call on Line 1.
JEREMY: (Brings wicker armchair to center, puts leg atop it, then brings it all the way downstage center. Scratching is heard. Triumphantly.) This is a room that is still called “nursery.” It is the time of the uprising of the sun. The screech of an owl breaks the morning silence.

Another “clumpslosion” – but this time it is linear. The muffled Spandau Ballet enters from other room, but in here – though no longer muffled - it is chopped and fragmented nearly beyond recognition. Pronunciations of words from the Oxford English Dictionary, terribly fragmented and smashed together, yet remaining in alphabetical order. Toe taps. Asses treated to rubbing gestures with feet, untouching and unbeknownst. Heads carried under arms like newspapers, shaking “no.” “No.” “No.”

VICTORIA: Dining room in Katie and Gina’s house. Night. A watchman can be heard tapping in the garden. Katie, sitting in an arm-chair before and open window dozing, and Gina beside her, dozing too.

A group plank position held for a long period that alters our sense of movement within time, creating a vacuum: Planck time. Human efforts proceed within the vacuum.

MANAGER’S SPECIAL: What’s playing is Frederic Chopin’s 3 Nocturnes, Opus 9 and then 3 more Nocturnes, Op. 15.
FEIGENBAUM (FIG TREE): Later on I decided to champion Goethe’s long-abandoned theory on the nature of color over Newthon’s, to my own peril and triumph. It both cost me and awarded me my career.
MANAGER’S SPECIAL: I don’t know from Chopin. I only have it because it’s my dog’s favorite composer. Over eleven hours of it is downloaded for him to play while no one else is home. It was supposed to be his Halloween costume: Frederic Chopin. But there wasn’t time.
FEIGENBAUM (FIG TREE): (Touching his headset lightly with his middle and ring fingers.) And so I invented this device: FA(AHA)CE the Feigenbaum Accelerated (Anabolic Hyaloid Apparatus) Controller of Everything. Which allows me to control the lights, the wind direction, and the temperature in the room. With my mind. (His eyes roll all the way upward and flutter there. As a direct result, the gels on all of the overhead lighting instruments also flutter for a moment, simultaneously. Then all is still. FEIGENBAUM (FIG TREE) casts a knowing glance to the audience. Then he crosses quickly to the wicker armchair, snapping out a utility lamp along the way, with his mind. Another knowing glance, but more quickly, for this time there is business to take care of. He must inform the audience about PAUL FEYERABEND, played by NEAL, who continues to demonstrate incredible mastery on the piano with his gestures. FEIGENBAUM (FIG TREE) snatches the microphone, ducks down behind the wicker armchair for cover.) Then Feyerabend finds he must speak. He trembles with fury but speaks with excellent control, on his position in relation to determinism/indeterminism. ~~~~~~That text will go here~~~~~~~~.
NEAL: (Speaking into the continuous interphone PUSH-TO-TALK atop the piano.) I’m going to stop event time, we’re not usin’ it.

ANDREW circles around toward the carpet. He swings all the way up, then throws himself down on the carpet, rather wretchedly resuming his post as JAMES GLEICK.

GLEICK: I’m a dick –
NEAL: Six-thirty.
GLEICK: - but for good reason. I crashed a plane and my son was killed. My only son, and maybe even an adopted son I can’t remember.
NEAL: Are you … let me get –
GLEICK: We crashed in a very strange area of New Jersey. Don’t laugh. It’s not all the NJ Turnpike. There are some creepy areas and some of the scariest roads in the nation, also the scariest road in the nation. The scariest of them all.
NEAL: Babe, that’s fast – see what I mean with that under there?
GLEICK: It was a clear day, you could look out over the mountains through the icicles of your woodsy cabin and yes you were cold. Imagine what it would have been like up in the atmosphere. The snow was full of trees -
NEAL: Yes, go ahead and give it a couple a more squirts, whatever you think it needs.
GLEICK: - and the plane went down, and my son was killed but not me. You don’ t know what that does to a man. A man of that stature. Of those modes of thought. It really just turns you into a real dick. So no wonder I don’t want to talk to you about the documentary film you’re making. The drama about how you fall in love every time with the same guy because of a stack of letters handed to you by a homeless man. I’ve clearly got a load of my own. Or maybe not that clearly, since I’ve got to explain it to you. (He reaches up to the downstage edge of the carpet, he grabs it, he grimaces and groans. Lightning up above the lighting grid, terrible crashes of thunder, breaking glass. He drags the whole thing backward into a terrible pile against the back wall of the theater. This is a carpet crush. The video transitions from the back wall of the structure to encompass the front of it, and the entire structure. Video data is moshed into bar graphs rendered as vector arrows. Nothing will ever be the same. All dance: ANDREW’s clumpsplosion phrase, JEREMY’s clumpsplosion phrase, and group bat flight patterns in canon. The piano lights up, or rather its plastic covering becomes lit by an unseen light source from behind and underneath, its great, luxurious, clear plastic swaths now illuminated and roseate.)

The ASTRONAUTS return. Chopped up. Deep night.

DAVE: 01:41:00, so I go to 99: 90004 ….
STEVE: Roger.
DAVE: That’s affirmative.
STEVE: Well, it’s just about getting dark.
DAVE: Okay. They’re all set up at that stage of the game.
STEVE: First start … I have two right out my . . . Beautiful. You have two?
DAVE: No, I don’t have any. Those are ---
STEVE: What the heck are they? Did you see that?
DAVE: --- I bet those are the Agendas.
STEVE: What?
DAVE: Yes. Those have to be the Agendas. We’re in the same path with them.
STEVE: Well, man, look at those! They’re beautiful! What’s that flashing on the right? Is that the Agenda? See it flash? What? John, do you see what I see?
DAVE: Yes.
STEVE: What the heck is that?
DAVE: I don’t know.
STEVE: I see – ‘s this tape recorder still running?
DAVE: Yes. I don’t know what those are.

Some kind of dawn. Peaceful. Return of birdsong and near distant gunfire. As if we are back at the beginning. As if that were possible.

Production and Development History

Restless Eye premiered at New York Live Arts in March, 2012. It was developed at Mt. Tremper Arts and at MANCC at Florida State University.