December 6 & 7: Jordan Hall

December 6 & 7: Relative Energy Levels

Jordan Hall



Anyone, really. Dressed in tatters and wounds.

Relative Energy Levels

What might be a desert. Stage left, a tiny bucket of water.

Slowly, glacially even, A emerges stage right, dressed in tatters and wounds, crawling across the stage towards the bucket.

A: It looks painful, I know. But it’s all a question of scale. Of reserve versus necessity.

Also in tatters, but wearing a filthy tie, B emerges stage right, running, and begins to take laps of the stage, hopping over A when necessary.

B: The accelerated pace of modern life gets a bad rap. There have always been things that had to get done, because it’s a chaotic and arbitrary universe, and you have to expend effort if you want to stay alive. If you want to eat, and sleep, and watch Orange is the New Black on Netflix.

A: (Still crawling:) It takes a certain amount of effort- to take a breath, to stand up, to cross a stage. Existence demands it, and the price is non-negotiable.

B: (Still running:) There are always shortcuts, and we’re good at those. Less effort to kill a bison with a spear. Less effort to run a mile on a horse. Less effort to send 35 letters a day with email. To stay warm under Goretex. To fly to Tokyo on a 747.

A: (Still crawling:) Except that the cost remains. We borrow. We defer. We dig the stored centuries from under the skin of the world. We burn them in a day.

B: (Still running. Possibly speeding up:) Gotta stay competitive, man. Current. We leave the slow behind. You want a decent job, a nice safe house, education for your kids, you gotta run. You better get real good at running.

A: (Still crawling:) For everything, there’s a tipping point. A point of failure.

B: (Definitely speeding up:) Or maybe we just learn to go faster. Maybe you can always go faster. The tortoise ad the hare, man. The tortoise and the hare. People are always saying slow and steady, but the reality is that most tortoises are fucking endangered and meanwhile the rabbits are doing just fine.

A: (Still crawling:) An event horizon.

B: (Running as fast as they can:) A singularity. Paradigm shift! Endless acceleration!

A: (Almost to the bucket:) We burn, we don’t know what for.

B: (Running as fast as they can:) We are infinite! We will never die!

In their frenzied running, B knocks over the bucket. A registers this, and after a moment, lies down and still. B keeps running, flat out, until the lights drop, or they are too exhausted to continue.