Saturday, 10 January 2015

Watching - Scene 3

Observations of a psychotic mind
- there and back again

Scene Three

Stage Directions: Time passing. Over the course of three days Saul gets drunk as that has become his crutch and it replaces food. He does not sleep at all and his mind begins to distort the simplest of concepts. Lighting is to be General and bleak. Day One: Drunk

Saul: Either it’s eat or it’s starve, but now I’ve lost my job 'cos of this mercenary powermonger fuckwit world putting wealth first. So long as the businesses survive eh? There’s no jobs out there.  Eating is getting a tad difficult, Dad. It’s either a roof over my head or eat. Warmth or food. Ah, but hang on a minute I have things in the garden. Survive all sorts of conditions did you? Well you know I don’t agree in National Service because, (and finally I can tell you this) I’m a pacifist. I don’t believe in armies I believe in negotiation and non-violent protests like Ghandi had it. Oooo I can hear you going purple and bursting your veins at me even from here! Tough! You don’t own me! I have my own mind and it can think what it likes and does and always has thank you. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

And I’ll show you. You think you need to be trained to survive? It’s instinct and logic Dad. That’s all you need. See... see here! A perfect example. Stinging nettles and nearby dock leaves to ease the pain if you get stung. It’s not a coincidence Dad, it’s a masterplan. No, not God... or maybe not God, but nature. Good old mama nature who, come to think of it, could well be related to God... they could even be married. Bet you never thought of that eh, you logic ridden scientific heathen!

Ha... so that means you’re with the Big Cheese himself now. Oh how I’d love to see you apologizing. Not such a fighter now are you Dad? Dad. Dad why didn’t you fight? Why did you leave me? Dad I miss you. I need you. Dad, please apologize 'cos I love you and want to see you again. And if you don’t say sorry I won’t. I just won’t I know it. Just let God show you as you showed me when I got things wrong will you?

Stage Directions: Twilight and bleak. Clocks ticking and time passing.

Saul: It’s everything or nothing. He didn’t believe in anything after death. Oblivion which equals zero. Life is the number one. The number one objective. It’s binary then isn’t it? Solid rock verses disintegrating heather. One is permanent the other transient.

All things in nature have an equal and an opposite action and reaction. Everything is balanced. E = MC2 but what is ‘E’? It’s energy, it’s equilibrium, it’s equal, equality; it’s exact, it’s Einstien himself, it’s everything. E = everything! He was writing a code! Bloody hell, he wasn’t just a genius, he was a super mega genius.

OK. OK, so unravel the code from there. I can work it back. So what then is ‘M’ and what is ‘C2’. And from there I can work back through his proof.

Stage Directions: Time passing. Night, deep dreamy blues and a golden spot on Saul. Live vocals from the chorus only with no words create the mood with sound which is angelic, soothing and comforting.

Dream One: Beginnings of imaginative flight... The highs and a separate world of comfort and peace. Dream sequence with polythene sheeting swishing as waves as the surface of the sea and used to mask and enhance an underwater dream vision, which is then developed further. It’s a wonderful joyous world where everything is beautiful and where everything makes sense. For company, Saul has spirits singing and showing him all life’s beautiful things including flowers, sunlight, breathtaking views, children playing, beautiful angle like mermaid women...

Saul returns from his dream and looks out at the world. It is a miserable wet day as indicated by people rushing about in the rain. Thoughts are voiceovers. Bold type indicates what he says out loud.It is a grey day outside with traffic noise and people chatting etc. Saul is walking to the shops. When he speaks out loud people either ignore him or give him an odd look. His appearance is of someone who’s slept in his clothes and hasn’t washed in days. His manner is a mix of agitated and on intense concentration as he tries to unravel the meaning of his life.

Saul: Petty, petty pace... nothing... nothing it signifies... I know now... This (picks up a piece of paper) relates to this ... arrrrh! Petty, nonsense... no such sense. Look, look what the sun highlights, but you’re buried in the clouds. Look at what the rain’s watering, but you burn in the sun. It’s so obvious... how could I have been so blind, so dumb, so ignorant... it all makes sense now.

I have to tell them only not tell them (An odd look from a passerby who noticeably moves to keep their distance) because, because it will frighten them and they won’t take me seriously. Not going to become one of those religious nuts even if it is my job to tell them. I’ve got to show them in ways never before shown, with words and shapes and sounds and pictures never before known, heard, seen, heard, viewed or touched or smelt or tasted.

It’s so simple... this... connects to this. All things connect.

Stage Directions: Supermarket announcement, till, scanner etc.

Saul: Are they watching me? I think they’re watching me. Are they following me? No... no... that’s silly. My friends aren’t watching me that’s for sure... NO SIGN OF THEM ANYMORE! All disappeared just because I won’t run round after them anymore. Hardly friends. I wonder if they’re falling apart without me facilitating all their whims, answering to all their so called emergencies... “don’t know what to wear, don’t know what to say, how do I do this, can you help?” No, I can’t anymore, or at any rate I don’t want to. Not until you show some support for me.

Shit, I said that out loud I think. Shit... now they think I’m crazy. CONTEXT... if you knew the rest of what I’m thinking in this head of mine you’d understand I’m not crazy. But how many times does anyone stop to think about that. Who bothers to stop and ask?

Customer: Are you OK? You look a bit distressed?

Saul: No, no I’m fine. Well I am aren’t I? Just the rest of the world that’s screwed.

Customer: You sure?

Saul: Yes, just had a run in with some idiots that’s all.

Customer: Well there are plenty of them about! There’s still enough of us decent ones left though.

Saul: Yes, you’re right. Thank you. Us? You’re nothing like me. You’re crazier than I am missus. What on earth have you got in common with me?

Customer: You’re welcome.

Saul: Distressed... of course I’m bloody distressed, it’s not every day you lose your Dad and the world just trundles on regardless. It feels, if you would but know it, like I’m being punished for being bereaved. But it doesn’t matter now as I have better company than you, real decent ones, not ones who make all the right noises and who are in reality only flashing pity from safe distances. What use is that to anyone? No, I have better company now, guiding me through your mad world. (Reaching for a bottle of vodka) The spirits have spoken. But I can’t tell you that because you’re a stranger and the reality is like everyone else, you don’t mean a thing you say.

Customer: That’s the ticket dear. (she exits)

Saul: They’re all watching me... always watching. Staring but trying not to, as soon as my back’s turned they’re gawping, glaring, staring in. Strangers all strangers... they know. They all know but intend to do nothing to help as that would take them out of their oh so mind-numbingly tedious mundane life. But they like watching because they love the drama, can’t get enough of watching others suffer can they? Can’t lift a finger to stop it though because they’re all so flaming busy with their oh so important tedium. (Saul exits without paying)

Shopkeeper: Here, you going to pay for that or steal it?

Saul: Oh God, I’m sorry. My mind was elsewhere. I haven’t been sleeping much lately. How much is it?

Shopkeeper: Good job you’re a regular or I’d call the police. £5.96 special offer this week.

Saul: Yes, thanks. Here. Er... if I do that again, it’s... well it would never be intentional.

Shopkeeper: You’ve looked better...  try not to drink it all at once; things don’t get better by drowning sorrows. Trouble at work is it?

Saul: What? Oh, yes... yes, trouble at work.

Shopkeeper: Grit your teeth if you can, jobs are scarce right now.

Saul: Yeah I know. Thank you.

Shopkeeper: Get some sleep; things always seem better after a good meal and a good night’s sleep.

Stage Directions: lighting fades to indicate that Saul walks for hours before he posts his letter.

Saul: If I had my way I’d sleep forever rather than be here. To sleep perchance to dream and stay with the spirits forever. But not yet. They’ve given me a purpose and chosen me to fix everything. I’m scared but they chose me 'cos I’m the only one who really understands and they’ll be there at the end, whatever the end turns out to be. I’ll be like Christ only I’m not Christ. I’m not the Messiah but a very naughty boy! They’ll think I am, or think that I think that I am but I know... I know I’m not. I’m just the first to make them all realise what their own true meaning is, their own purpose. But first we have to get rid of the dross, the pettiness, the trivia, the mundane and most of all the arguments, the disagreements, the battles the wars, the territories, the possessions.

Got to get the government on board. Got to get the prime minister onside. He’s waiting for me I can tell because behind all the flannel he’s telling me so. And he’s in touch with all the other world leaders. Next will be America then China and Russia.  That’s why he’s travelling there. Yes, they’re all waiting for me to give them the answer and the answer is so goddamn simple! Just be nice to each other, stop quibbling and bickering about which interpretation is right it’s the overall. It’s the concept that needs focussing on. All concepts of God are right it’s only us mortals who twist it, distort it to gain power over others. He’s none too pleased about that. Fools idiots, don’t they realise the Big Cheese gave us a choice by way of which to hear Him by.

“Ooo but what to do when someone breaks His laws.” WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO JUDGE you idiots... only God is. Yep painful but for a reason. So what’s the reason, again it’s simple so that we learn to co-exist in harmony in the first place, that we don’t screw up childhood, education, have abject poverty at one end and obscene riches at the other. Hell even my Dad’s on board with it now, so if he can be convinced you lot should be a doddle. It will take generations. That’s the next thing they’ll ask along with ‘how’? With government edicts is how, so all I have to do is get them on board. It will take generations but we’ll get there. E = Everything. God is Everything, everywhere. Ha, that blade of grass, that pebble. He is Evolution itself, He is in the sodding tarmac and the cats eyes and the double yellow lines. He is the genetic code and the moral guide. He is E. He is energy of every kind, mother nature, the works!

But shhh now. They’re not ready to hear that yet. Not yet. Not yet. But soon. Soon they’ll hear it. This is bigger than even Darwin and I’m frightened. I’m no one. Why pick on me? I’m just Saul. I don’t want to be on a pedestal or be nothing either. It’s only temporary they said. The spirits told me, it’s only going to be a short while but... the world and how it reacts, they’ll be cruel and lock me up and say I’m crazy. But I can’t not try. It’s for my Dad... I’ve got to get through to prove it for Dad.

(He posts a letter into a bin) There now. Go. Phase one has begun. Now all I have to do is wait for the Prime Minister to respond. All I have to do is wait for him to decide when the
right time is for it all to begin.  Now finally I can sleep again.

Stage Directions: Time passing. Ripping off of dates on the calendar, after which Saul checks for post, checks his mobile phone. Checks his computer. He writes, the stage becomes littered with his efforts. He experiments with odd combinations of objects, such a bits or wood, he tries licking stones as if it is food. He seldom sits still for a minute. He hasn’t washed or eaten properly in weeks by now. The lighting is as the previous dream but becomes a bit bleaker/colder. Vocals with base notes adding to the previous sounds angelic, soothing sounds of dream one. These base tones vibrate as a continuous ominous hum.

Dream 2: Although the dream starts as the same pleasant experience as before, something begins to become disturbing about it. This is reinforced by discordant sounds and brief glimpses of the lovely faces of the spirits getting distorted. This time instead of the sheet drifting away as Saul is lulled into sleep; it is pulled away from him as he tries to keep under its protective mantle. He tries to chase it but is left bereft of its comfort.  He wanders aimlessly throughout the night; eventually he curls into a ball and falls asleep on a hillside. People pass by Saul but he thinks they are government spies.

Saul: They’re all watching me... always watching. Staring but trying not to, as soon as my back’s turned they’re gawping, glaring, staring in. Strangers all strangers... they know.  They must know that I have the answers now... and they’re watching me, studying everything I do. So that’s how I’m to teach them. They’ve been sent from the government... they’re not sure of me are they? No, not sure that what I know will be safe. I should have expected it. I have to be careful that what I share cannot be corrupted, and used for bad things, twisted and turned about for the few to command power. Of course they’re scared and they should be because power over others is soon to be a thing of the past. Money will go, and power will go and the world will be in turmoil for an age until we learn to co-exist nicely, considerately, caringly, compassionately in all things.

No one will judge or be judged as it is in heaven. There I’ve named it! Are you pleased? But it always was the wrong name wasn’t it? Like all sounds we humans make it’s all got distorted.

Stage Directions: The light is distinctly bleak and depressing. Up lights at low level.
We hear time passing. Ripping off of dates on the calendar, after which Saul checks for post, checks his mobile phone. Checks his computer. Carmina Burana is playing so loudly it is distorting.

Saul: Shit, they’re in my house. They have microphones and cameras everywhere. LEAVE ME ALONE! You’ve got your answers so go and do something about it.

Stage Directions: Vocals with sinister NOT GHOSTLY base hums so deep and of a frequency they drill through you building upon what was dream two. Little is left of the higher register notes of the first dream and what there is, is now getting distorted and Increasingly discordant.Time should be spent ensuring the duration of each part of ‘Saul’s Song’ is well established before action takes place. Dream Three needs to be so uncomfortable that all wish it to stop, therefore DO NOT let it run for long.

Dream 3: The dream is no longer pleasant. The once kindly soothing sounds have got distorted and are distinctly menacing from the start and they become increasingly demanding and threatening to Saul.  It’s disturbance conflicts with Carmina Burana that is still playing and is still itself distorting. Bodies writhing and causing sinister shadows on the cyc, this is no dream at all – this is the full horror of a nightmare. As this happens First the chorus disappear due to lack of light on them and then Saul becomes invisible, i.e. he gets consumed by darkness.

Saul: (pathetic and pitiful as a helpless child) Why are you being like this! What have I done wrong? I did what I thought you wanted! What else can I do? You want everything don’t you? Well take it... take it all! Take it! Take it! Take it!

Stage Directions: Sound resumes at a lower volume just a background for now we are looking in on Saul not with him ie, we are not a part of his nightmare, even though we are now aware of it. A bleak light reveals Saul throwing everything out of his home. Cars screech to a halt. A siren. Saul collapses in a ball centre stage in a top lit spotlight. Slow motion with blackouts intersperse as if getting snap shots of glimpsed memory and snapped pictures as people arrive. Knocking on the door. A policeman forces entry and removes knives and turns the music off. Silence. The light centre stage area lifts slightly in order to see a little more of Saul’s intruders. To him they are the epitomy of all that is cruel and wrong with the world but he hasn’t the energy to fight them anymore.

Police: Hey mate. What’s happened? (no response) Is this your guitar? I found it outside. Looks a good instrument. You don’t wanna be throwing that out. (no response) Wish I could play. (no response) So what’s brought all this on, eh?

Saul: My dad.

Police: What’s he done then?

Saul: (he is as a 7 year old again and quietly sobbing) He left me. He died. And since then everything’s gone wrong and... and the cameras and the microphones... and the helicopters and spies. Everyone’s watching but no one is helping. I didn’t mind at first but it got too much.

Stage Directions: Up light at low level then centre stage area lifts slightly as a  medic arrives. Uplight at low level then centre stage area lifts slightly as the psychiatrist arrives. After miming trying to talk to Saul turns and mimes a conversation with the doctor during which is heard in soft voices the occasional line “has lucidity yes.” “Quite intelligent.” “He’s quite sociable so I don’t think so”. Lights blackout before resuming slightly brighter as the doctor arrives. As Saul is helped to his feet a final blackout.

PLEASE NOTE: Currently in the UK no mental health professional ever wears white coats and seldom wear uniforms of any kind unless they are nursing staff. CPN is the abbreviation for Community Psychiatric Nurse and they do not wear uniforms. Sectioning in other countries is the term that used to known as committed i.e. placed in hospital by decree from a medical team. 

In the UK it takes a committee of medical staff trained in mental health to agree that you are too ill to be left to cope on your own and it is very common for a member of public not related to you to ensure that medical staff are not in breach of the law. 

All people in the UK can appeal against being placed in hospital under the Mental Health Act.

By kind permission of Mel Dixon, the Mindwalking team is proud to publish a joint venture in the form of a play. Copyright and performance rights remains with Mel Dixon who we would like to thank for writing this piece with us and for all of us. 

We hope this will enable every to understand what both isolation and loss can lead to if people are left unsupported. No one should suffer alone, but sadly all too many still do.

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