FALLING OUT OF TIME
The universally acclaimed Israeli author brings us an incandescent fable of parental grief––concise, elemental, a powerfully distilled experience of understanding and acceptance, and of art’s triumph over death.
Spectacle Falling Out of Time ––part play, part prose, poetic installation–– tells the story of bereaved parents setting out to reach their lost children. It begins in a small village, in a kitchen, where a man announces to his wife that he is leaving, embarking on a journey in search of their dead son. The man––called simply Walking Man––paces in ever-widening circles around the town. One after another, all manner of townsfolk fall into step with him (the Net-Mender, the Midwife, the Elderly Math Teacher, even the Duke), each enduring his or her own loss. The walkers raise questions of grief and bereavement: Can death be overcome by an intensity of speech or memory? Is it possible, even for a fleeting moment, to call to the dead and free them from their death? Grossman’s answer to such questions is a hymn to these characters, who ultimately find solace and hope in their communal act of breaching death’s hermetic separateness. For the audience its a realm where loss is not merely an absence but a life force of its own.
First Perfomance: 22/5/2014
Running time: 1 hour and 30 minutes, with no intermission
Man: I have to go.
Man: To him.
Man: To him, there.
Woman: Where it happened?
Man: No, no. There.
Woman: What is there?
Man: Don’t know.
So begins the story of the man on the go. His wife will try and stop him, trying to understand exactly where he’s going, and what will happen if he doesn’t return. And the man on the go must keep on going, unable to contain their silence any longer: “The eyes, a sparkle in his eyes – how can one, how may one not try?” And on he goes, circling round himself in a small circle and then the entire house, continuing the circling, his circles widen as he circles the entire village in ever expanding circles. On he goes.
We meet the Chronicler of the city's history, working for the Duke, who forced him to document the pain of the villagers whose children have died. First he peeks into the window of the Centaur - half writer and half writing desk - who cannot express his pain in words. The Chronicler tries to extract any information possible about his condition and his son’s death. Later the Centaur will crack and talk. From there the Chronicler follows his own wife, dictating her pain to her in small notes as she suffers, through his words, their drowned daughter’s death. He will continue following her anew every evening. He then moves on to the cobbler and his midwife spouse. She has been stuttering ever since the death of their young daughter and he has filled his mouth with nails. The midwife tries to conserve and remember every single day of their life at home, while the cobbler objects and suppresses his pain. This causes an ongoing conflict between them. After meeting them the Chronicler will meet his childhood math teacher, whose elder son committed suicide “Twenty-six years ago, in a stupid accident, and a sharp razor, veins slit during a game”. Later we will understand he was a harsh father who beat his son. The Chronicler leaves the aged man and hurries to the old jetty, where the mute fishing-net mender, who hasn’t uttered a word since the death of her six-year-old son, is standing. He is afraid she might jump into the lake, but cannot touch anyone since the death of his own daughter. All the villagers, in one way or another, watch the man walking the hills, who manages, through his walking, to get them moving and to break their silence of many years. They are swept up by his motivation, to go and take action, and later each and every one of them will join his march. Even the Duke mourning his son, who spends restless nights walking about trying to overcome his grief, will join the man on the go and his followers in search of their children.
The wife, who stayed at home, has moved to the top of a bell-tower, observing her husband from the village center, slowly turning in circles, following his march, supporting and pushing him to continue it until he can reach their son. Her husband, on the go, continues to wonder and convince himself that the move he’s been making for quite a time is the right thing to do. He is still on the go. His followers never stop believing that they will meet their children again. They will talk to them with words that will recharge them with the strength to keep on going, step by step by step…
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