There is no curtain. There is only a brick wall between the audience and the stage, windows looking into innocuous bedrooms, a living room, a home office, an everyday banality. Yet, the sun rises, and as it does, an actor appears in the window, rising from her bed in pajamas. She turns her back to the audience, stretches, and disappears suddenly.
However, she soon returns in a towel, looks anxiously through the window, and drops it after turning to look into her closet. She grabs a dress and struggles awkwardly as she puts it on, standing on one foot and almost losing her balance as she dances with the shimmering vermillion fabric. Then, fully dressed, she straightens her posture, looks through the window into the rising sun, and she disappears again, emerging from a door and into the audience.
Thus, a man also rises from his chair alongside you in the audience and enters the door. He is seen again in the living room, and he is angrily yelling into a phone. He is flailing his free hand into the air and slams a fist into the refrigerator as one observes him screaming without him being heard amongst the audience. Yet suddenly a woman rises from her seat on the other side of the theatre and we can hear exactly what she is saying and,
The Second Woman: Jim, I already have a lawyer and I do not want to talk about this anymore. I meant what I said, and I am going through with it, and I do not give a flying fuck about what you have to say anymore. I made my decision, and this is my life. Go fuck yourself.” [Click.]
The man is visibly livid though when she hangs up the phone and we watch as he grabs a chair and throws it at the window, though it crashes into the wall alongside it, creating a dull thud that reverberates weakly. Then we watch as he storms out the door, huffing and puffing, to rejoin the audience, distressed, but seemingly normal, maybe a bad day at work, had we not just seen him in the window.
Thus, a light flashes on in the third window. A man is seated at a desk writing on a typewriter. Sometimes he just sits there, looking at what he has written, and the periods of reflection are followed by sudden frenetic compositions as one imagines the maniacal sound of the keys striking like hail against a skylight. He fidgets constantly and sometimes looks out the window, as if paranoid. He is concerned that people are watching him.
As he continues his process of writing, a man enters the bedroom that the first woman was in. He takes his shirt off and turns a box upside down from which paint tubes begin to rain onto the floor. Then when the box is empty, he rushes into a corner and grabs large sheets of paper, allowing them to fall to the ground like leaves before suddenly getting on his knees and then on all fours above them. The paint is flying in action as if without reason, he is spreading them with his hands, his movements are sudden, and he looks up briefly and into the audience in the midst of it all, as if alert to danger. Yet he returns to his work in an instant as he begins to make prints from one page to another manically and back again, as if nothing is involved but pure chance. Papers are flying and then he rises to look into the audience standing on two feet, his chest covered in dark hair and pigment, a stern expression upon his face, and then he looks down at himself, confused, and wipes his hand along his torso, examining himself. A moment later he turns around and is seen taking photographs with a cellphone.
As he does so, the writer in the other window pauses and begins to take pictures of his work too, and they are both actively engaged with their phones, doing something, who knows what, until suddenly the audience’s phones vibrate with notifications about new social media posts. Thus, the audience are invited to witness the works on the inside, beyond the wall and the windows.
In the sudden darkness within their phones hover, a narrator’s voice emerges.
The Narrator: “i love the fireflies in the city
And the people in their theatres.”
And in the wake of his soft voice, a spotlight suddenly shines into the first bedroom amidst the artificial night. The first woman is there in the window, embraced in the arms of a shrouded figure. They are between struggle and lovemaking, and the ambiguity is palpable amidst their silent dance, which continues as he dips her, and she appears to struggle as she rises, yet after a minute they suddenly fall into the bed together, precisely where she rose in the morning and remain unseen.
In the wake of their disappearance a light turns on in the living room and the arguing couple is together. Though there is no sound, they are screaming, and he is much larger, the man, some might say that he is husky, especially in comparison to the woman’s petite frame. As they continue to argue, tears streaming down her face, their arms flailing in passion, he consistently steps toward her, always such that he is always almost against her body, in her face, and she recoils again and again and again, always seeking to create space between them, sometimes pushing him away, and as their dance continues, it becomes as if violence is immanent, yet they continue to dance in circles, the same dance as he steps forward, and she away, a silent broken record whose only music is that which emerges as it sinks into the audience’s skin where it rises again as some are moved to become their instruments.
She is visibly distraught, in crisis, and eventually the man drops to his knees, upon which she is revolted. She runs to leave, but he rises and chases her, restraining her as soon as she reaches the door, and they begin to struggle.
Yet, a woman in the audience rises finally and stands up with her phone in hand, calling 911.
The Caller: [Shrieking, reaching high pitches that few other humans are capable of producing] Oh my god! No! [She drops to her knees, completely unrestrained.] He’s beating her! No! No! No! He’s going to ***king kill her. [Higher! Her voice rises higher!] No! No! No! You have to get her right now! [She begins to wail without words as the scene continues to unfold within beyond the window.]
The man is beating the woman still and all the lights throughout the building have been turned on. The first woman in her bedroom is frantically dialing 911 on her phone and the writer is in his office, looking upstairs toward the scene and typing frantically between glances as he listens. Then the painter rushes to the first woman’s side and they exchange an embrace, a tear rushing down her cheek, and he runs away, deeper into the building to intervene.
Yet before he arrives, as the audience looks once more into the window, the woman is now laying lifeless on the floor, and the man has fallen to his knees again alongside her, covering his face and leaning forward, as if bowing to the audience. Then he suddenly looks to the door, as if someone is attempting to break in and as he does so, the sirens and lights of the approaching police begin to emanate throughout the audience’s side of the theatre and into his window. As soon as the sound and the red lights strike his senses, his gaze begins to rapidly dart toward them and back toward the door and then the window again rapidly. Action is necessary. Thus, he rises suddenly and moves toward the window just before the door comes crashing down behind him as the painter emerges into the living room, looking toward the man, the window, and the audience as his body hunches, becomes alerts, and he prepares to attack. Yet, then he looks to his left, just behind him to see the body and his face erupts with rage as he begins to yell inaudibly.
Then the man looks frantically to his own left and sees a knife on the counter, and the painter becomes silent as he sees it too, staring into him as the two men assess their following steps carefully. The painter’s eye grows sterner as he stands his ground, and the man looks from the knife to the painter, to the knife and over his shoulder into the audience beyond the window, but the painter does not wait for him to reveal his choice. The painter begins to lunge toward him, as if rabid and prepared to die, and in an instant the man turns around, leaving the knife behind and bursts through the window as crashing glass and his body rain down upon the ground below and the painter arrives to look down into the pit below at his corpse. Thus, the painter rises and peers through the hole that has been created, into the audience’s eyes, and he speaks calmly and wisely,
The Painter: “There are things beyond these walls that i wish i had never seen and that one wishes for others to never see.”
Thus, he pauses for a moment, looking into the audience, almost as if overcome with a sense of burden and a need to weep before pulling a curtain closed behind him as sirens and flashing lights continue to illuminate the audience.
In the wake of the disturbance, the lights within the building grow dimmer with time, and in the midst of the aftermath, the first woman begins to sing alone in her bedroom window. Her voice rises above the sirens without words, operatic and resonant as the theatre continues to grow dimmer, descending into a gradual blackout while the sirens’ wailing mellows into a hushed whisper until only her voice remains. There is no light to guide the way to the door as one lingers within this theatre, though her voice continues to echo from its unseen source. Thus, the song continues until the audience leaves. You may stay for however long you will, for this music is eternal and beyond you.