Camille Intson is an emerging multidisciplinary artist working in theatre, performance art, multimedia, and music across Southern Ontario. Western’s current student-writer in residence, a theatre artist in residence at TAP: Center for Creativity, and this summer’s Theatre Ontario Youth Scholarship recipient, Camille has written, produced, and directed for the stage through festivals in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Newmarket, Toronto, and London, and earlier this year won the Lillian Kroll Prize in Creative Writing at Western, where she’s currently completing an undergraduate degree, and cultivating a growing academic and practical interest in post-humanism and digital performance art.

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the trial

 

Language is on trial again.


Three witnesses come to the stand:

A lawyer, a grade school teacher, and a poet.

 

The lawyer begins:

       “I saw language at the office the other week,

       slinking and slithering its way around the fingers of truth as if it had any right.

       I senses the absence of its meaning and, to be brutal,

       I looked language straight in the face and yet still could not see it.”

 

The lawyer takes his place on the bench and sips away at his coal black coffee.

 

Next comes the grade school teacher:

        “Language is hurting our children! It’s bleeding to death on the open street!

        How can we trust our youth with such a thing if that thing doesn’t know how to control itself?!

        It’s destroying, it’s convulsing —

        What are we supposed to do with all of this violence?!”

 

The grade school teacher becomes hysterical. She is escorted from the courtroom.

 

And finally, the poet:

       “I can’t speak for the others, but language isn’t doing anything for me anymore.

       It doesn’t know where it’s headed — I’m afraid it’s lost control.”

           (The poet breaks down sobbing —) 

       “I’m sorry. I’m trying my best.”

 

The jury sits there, hands in their pockets,

Chins buried in the creases of their fabrics.

 

The judge is stoic, resigned.

He fiddles with the stones in his socks.

 

He contemplates sentence.

 

from Patchface

 

00:01

We begin in absolute silence and darkness.

This is the kind of darkness that makes something sound like nothing.

In a space like this, time can only pass slowly and with caution.

It seems for a moment that this darkness is absolute, impenetrable.

We are surrounded.

 

From this silence comes static.

 

Sensitive, sensual static.

Static that separates darkness from light, silence from sound.

This space is at once a convergence of senses at the limits of darkness, of silence.

 

It starts in a low frequency.

 

Some muffled noises.

 

Buttons.

 

Whirring.

 

Typing.

 

Space that, now, gasps for light.

 

And three partial bodies, engulfed.

 

 

VOICES Hello?

 

             Uh, hi.

 

             Hey.

 

             It’s me again.

 

             Hello?

 

             I just

 

             Are you there?

 

             You didn’t pick up.

 

             I’m here.

 

             I got kind of worried.

 

             I’m sorry I can’t — 

 

             We’re breaking up.

 

             I mean not that we — 

 

             Hello?

 

             Is anyone there?

 

             Not that you have to — 

 

             I’m right here.

 

             Are you there?

 

             Please pick up.

Static.

A dial tone.

Nothing more.

 

 

 

00:02

 

Projection: fragmented flashes of cityscape.
Splintered bodies and buildings.
Construction, chattering, feet shuffling, automobiles.

Lights up on MAN and WOMAN.

 

WOMAN              I am a stranger to greyness.
                            I grew up on a farm outside of Caledonia.
                            Green is in my blood.
                            But he knows this greyness intimately, knows every flailing light and rubber wheel, every drill churning flesh to steel, each crane and corner,                               an electric cacophony of here and now welding life with life, body into body. 

 

MAN                    She is a stranger to greyness.

                            But I know it intimately, for here is the deadening sushi joint on Locke, and here is the coffee shop where the bearded man wails for nickels,                               and this is the grid which takes us from King to Main, back down to Queen and then out to Highbury, a convergence of line with line, square                             with square.

 

WOMAN              Here is the man in the red hat smoking. Here are the cranes, hovering high above the progressive rubble, desire unhinged, and here is my                                 body, a cyclone of shapes, and here I am, caught up in the debris.

MAN                    This is how things are in our city.

 

WOMAN              Green is in my blood.

 

MAN                    And here is the three-legged dog.

 

WOMAN              Here is the bus stop waning blue.

 

MAN                    Here is the crack of life.

 

WOMAN              And here we are.

 

MAN                    Her face

 

WOMAN              His touch

 

MAN                    Her love

 

WOMAN              Her eyes

 

MAN                    His hands

 

WOMAN              On hers

 

MAN                    On her

 

WOMAN              All over her

 

MAN                    Until one day she loses her sight.

 

WOMAN              Completely. 

 

MAN                    Without warning. 

 

WOMAN              In the middle of the kitchen. 

 

MAN                    So we take her to the doctor.

 

WOMAN              He drives.

 

MAN                    They do all the required tests.

 

WOMAN              Her blood work is fine.

 

MAN                    Her tests show nothing.

 

WOMAN              There is no doubt she is in perfect health.

 

MAN                    Except that she is blind. 

 

WOMAN              Without explanation. 

 

MAN                    Or diagnosis.

 

WOMAN              The doctor said, apply a cold compress.

MAN ties a black compress over WOMAN’s eyes.

 

MAN                    The doctor said, get lots of rest, drink lots of water.

 

WOMAN              And here is the ambulance rushing north rushing east —

 

MAN                    Her blindness.

 

WOMAN              And steps — out — in front — behind —

 

MAN                    The crack

 

WOMAN              The ripple

 

MAN                     of

 

WOMAN              life

 

MAN                    and we

 

WOMAN              right

 

MAN/WOMAN    here.

Projection/sound: a broken cityscape, fragmented bodies and personalities, somewhere, in the distance, wailing. 

 

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