When the Soul Meets the Body

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[Written by Veronica Gikas (she/her)]

[Photo by Gwen O on Unsplash]

[Player sits on the Stage, legs crossed. It is a classic proscenium, dimly lit on the stage, only enough light to emphasize the outline of seats in the empty audience. Player listens to themself being echoed through the chambers as if replicating the cocoon of a caterpillar or a mother’s womb. Warmth even though the theatre is not heated. Almost a public diary reading.]

Player (speaking to an empty audience, still sitting): I do not like to start off with clichés, I am in the theatre after all. A soulless being could scoop me up and take me into the arms of the play-which-shall-not-be-named. Soulless beings are meek and shy, as much as you want to believe that. I will be fine. I always thought it was funny how the mere presence of the theatre halts all actions, some measly words, a two-syllable curse. It speaks. A torrential downpour to a few raindrops. We sit and obey.

I live everywhere as I sit in this spot on the dirty, black concrete floor. I am living as much outside this theatre as I am living here. I am performing for no one and for everyone. It is not uncommon for actors to feel a distortion of reality when it comes to performance. As I said in the beginning, I do not mention clichés. Some say we perform from the moment of conception. We are a named Player, thrown into a setting and an interpretive script. Yet God is the ultimate playwright, no? As the painter plays God so does the writer the artist the musician. The mere notes that elicit tears play God. When you can see the theatre, or the painting, or watching the musician is physical, it holds you and does not let you slip away into the ether.

I am being held in this very spot. Or I hold my own really. I suppose it is grim speaking to no one, yet, when I hear myself the theatre gives me a response. A merging body. Something about meiosis.

[Player stands up and walks slowly over to the velvet curtains, pulling on the ropes that close them so they cannot see into the audience anymore. It is pitch black on the stage now. A feeling of loneliness is creeping in. Player paces back and forth in the darkness now, footsteps echoing.]

I am not scared of dying, especially up here. That is a lie but I am on the stage so it is alright. Lying up here is nothing different than the truth. There is no line that cannot and has not been crossed. It is eternal and ephemeral at the same time.

I know you cannot see me anymore, but I have evened the playing field. You cannot control my movement so much as I cannot control yours. I perform life for you. I perform so I am able. Stand after I sit down.

[Player decides to lie down and close their eyes, their cheek touching the dirty, cold floor of the theatre.]

I will not fall asleep, but I will wait for what I know is coming. What I knew was going to happen the moment I stood here. A quicksand hug made up of concrete. Thankfully it is dark so I am not scared to go. My body will follow, and I will take my last breath before the floor consumes me. I have a feeling I am not going anywhere.

[Moments pass in silence, and a barren stage is left. A murmur of a crowd begins, taking seats in the empty chairs. They await a new show watching the velvet curtains, unaware of what they have disturbed.]


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