November 22: Jordan Hall

November 22: Sixty-Three People In Four Days

Jordan Hall


The characters can be anyone, as long as they are physically equal to the tasks described. Two of three should be women. Two of three should be non-white.

Sixty-Three People In Four Days

On stage, A, B, & C play games. Simple games, that involve skipping and jumping. Nothing aggressive, nothing inequitable.

A: Let’s imagine, for a moment, that this stage is a little plateau, somewhere on a mountain. Not a particularly large mountain, not particularly picturesque, but a mountain, nonetheless.

B: Let’s imagine, for a moment, that you wanted to dig a pipeline through this mountain, the last link in a chain that will flow like an artery, pouring oil and energy, the very stuff of life.

C: Let’s imagine that the people who live near the mountain aren’t exactly thrilled about this plan.

A, B, C move away from each other, warily. They take up equidistant positions, and begin to circle each other.

A: So a kind of game begins. A game that’s a little bit like “Chicken” and a little bit like “Red Rover” and a little bit like the French Revolution, except, of course, that it isn’t like any of these things.

While A watches, B & C begin to play a game a little like “Chicken.”

B: You could apply to the National Energy Board for permission to conduct a feasibility survey. Just to see, you know, what’s possible. What the limits might be.

C: The people who live near the mountain might elect a mayor who opposes the pipeline expansion by a 48% margin.

B: You might might start survey work anyway, maybe cut down some trees in a public park.

C: The people who live near the mountain might set up a protest camp. People who don’t want the Tar Sands. People whose land rights aren’t being acknowledged. People who don’t want a pipeline in their backyards.

B: You could amass your lawyers and get an injunction. The police will remove any protestors from your worksite.

A & C move to oppose B, they link their arms together.

C: The people on the mountain might say “No”. They won’t go. They won’t pretend it’s legal that a foreign corporation have citizens of a country, a province, a town, forcibly removed from a public park for peaceful protesting.

B meanwhile, begins putting on a football helmet and heavy-looking pads. Once they’re on, B begins to play “Red Rover” with A & C, running at their linked arms, hitting them as hard as they can.

B: You could set in motion the events that lead to the slapping of poets with 5.6 million dollar lawsuits, the arrest of 11-year old girls– not perpetrate yourself, mind you– you don’t really have to do that– because it’s more that a combined enterprise value of 125 billion dollars has its own particular kind of inertia– the surface friction of local communities and democracy and human morals just isn’t sufficient to slow it down. Politicians and energy boards, courts and police, they understand physics as well as anybody. They can feel that money coming in their bones, like an avalanche, or an earthquake. They know enough to smooth its passage. Or at least to get out of the way.

Once B has succeeded in battering down A & C, B drags them away. A speaks as they are dragged. A is dropped near the edge of the stage.

A: This isn’t how we thought the game was supposed to be played, after all. Not really. It’s supposed to be like the dog and the wolf in the cartoon. They fight their fight over those sheep for their eight hour shift, and then they punch out, and they’re friends. Goodnight, Sam. Goodnight, Ralph. See you tomorrow. The difference in ideology something enforced from the outside. Not bone deep. No sheep harmed in the making of this video.

After a moment, C begins to crawl back, slowly, painfully inching across the stage towards B.

C: This is the new thing we need to understand about the world. That difference. Deeper than bone. Deeper than bedrock. 125 billion dollars wants what it wants. It wanted sixty-three people in the last four days, so it took them. No games. No time outs. If you think you aren’t in a war, you haven’t been paying attention.

C reaches B. There’s a moment, and then B reaches down and snaps C’s neck. C lies still.

A: Imagine, for a moment, that this is a mountain.