Fringe Talk Day Fifteen

Every/Nowhere + Snap Season - Friday 15th September 

Ben and I start the day as we have done almost every day since we got a dog last Christmas – we perambulate a little circular route down by the river. I’ve had this thought before: I’d like to see, from the air, what my movements would look like if drawn up in chalk. I imagine them as ovoid - attempting to reach a finer point but eventually just circling back.

We discuss Christmas, and the route we will take this year, while circumnavigating our own familiar terrain.

Place, Time, Nostalgia and Memory fast become the themes of the day.

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We arrive at a church in Annandale for Serena Chalker’s Every/Nowhere.They’ve installed protective sheets of perspex over the fragile stained glass windows. The voice of Serena playing in my headphones, the first interaction we have with her in the alcove of the church hall, points us to the orange plastic school chairs and peeling skirting boards. 

I enter the space first, and alone. Lamps. Some paper. A chart and pen on the wall, where a bird’s eye view of a place has been drawn up, very rectangular. I compare it to my own consideration that my world is ovoid.

It is both curious and disconcerting to be told a red chair is a doily-esque blind, or a man walks past you in hi-vis who isn’t really there.

I am instructed to walk through the space joining unrelated points as if they were meant to be together. This makes me smile, and I don’t know why.

you notice the people around you, centre of their own universe.

She talks to me through my headset so intimately about memories of place, of holidays, of rushing landscapes and foreign bodies of water, of forgotten languages. She moves through the space appearing alone, and often as if being stung by a bee in slow motion. Later she instructs me to write about my own place-memory. I recall Ghost Crabs, and hand her the letter. She smiles and moves swiftly, gracefully. She is running from my cousins and I, giggling, wielding torches on the beach at night. The beach we no longer visit. We have reminisced together and I feel at home with her in this disjointed place.

It’s hard to leave. It’s hard not to stand outside the church and stare outwards and up, harder than ever.

the past is sticky, it clings to your organs, wrapping them in your false comfort

We make it to The Erskineville Town Hall for Liz Hobart’s play Snap Season. A mother and daughter hide from Christmas Day, Mother softening in a cool bathtub, Daughter souring in the heat (and absent Grandmother sticking to both their organs, I think Serena would say).

These women appear to hold fast to place in order to hold down time, Mother pruning while an absent Daughter hamsters on an exercise bike like it’s a time-wheel. I have Gillian Welch’s song Time (The Revelator) in my head now.

i was born here. My life began in this room

They don’t perambulate. They don’t circumnavigate. They broil. They writhe in the heat. Un-staccatoed, heavy. 

[A hiccup in time has occurred, it seems, for tomorrow is when Alana recounts her visit to Mad River and Betty Grumble]

 

Written by Eleni Schumacher