It’s Exceedingly Odd to Think that this Tree Should Continue to Be When There’s No One About in the Quad

(Este guión también está disponible en español.)

 

 

 

A table is located at an arbitrary point of the exhibition room. The slide projector on it is pointing perpendicularly to the nearest wall. There are two chairs. Facing the projection, one is on the left side of the table and the other on the right. ONE is sitting on the left chair and TWO on the right one. Both give back to the audience standing behind them, who are also looking at the projection. THREE is among the public.

The projector has a circular slide magazine of 80 positions. Only 23 slots, all consecutive, are loaded with a numbered slide, the rest is empty (only light is projected). At the start of performance, the projector is turned off and the slide magazine is 12 positions before slide 1. ONE and TWO pass the slides as indicated on their lines.

 

TWO turns on the projector.

ONE <Groan, or cry-like effort made ​​by some tennis players when hitting the ball. ONE and TWO improvise breaks and changes in intensity–which represent points and services–randomly.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

BOTH <Standing face to the public:> Rhob, <ONE raises his hand.> a magician's instruments constructor, and Mr. Niwre, <TWO raises his hand.> one of his most assiduous magician clients.

TWO ¡Hocus Pocus! ¡Hocus Pocus!

ONE Alright, I'm going to try it out at my workshop, but, honestly, I don't know what to do which I haven't done last time. I told you, Mr. Niwre, I have followed your instructions to make the magic box word by word: you insert the blue and the red balls through the upper slot. Then, if you open one of the little doors, be it the right or the left one, both balls will fall towards one of the two compartments, randomly. However, <Makes an effort.> if instead of opening only one door, you open both at the same time, each little ball heads towards a different compartment. ¡The mechanism is faultless!

TWO It's not a matter of mechanisms, Rhob. We're talking about magic here.

ONE I don't know if I follow, Mr. Niwre. <Pause.> I mean, in the end, magic is nothing but...

TWO But what? But tips and tricks?

ONE No, Mr. Niwre., I mean...

TWO Is that what you think? Look, imagine a scientist of the future. A scientist that knows everything, absoutely everything there is to know about the perception of colour, but she has spent all her life inside a room in which everything is black or white. She has never looked out. One day, we show her something orange. Of course, she will look at that colour amazed because, for the first time, she is experimenting colour. Her experience of the colour orange is something that is beyond her complete knowledge of that colour... Isn't it?

ONE You mean, I am like that supposed scientist?

TWO Look at the orange. <Pause.> So? Do you seem to have seen that colour before?

ONE If what you're implying is that I'm lacking experience, Mr. Niwre, I promise this time I won't fail you. I will try to improve the magic box and will listen to your advise. But I swear I've done the best I could. <Pause.> Or... do you mean I don't know the real magic?

TWO No, Rhob, what I mean is you've spent too many hours working inside this workshop. You know the technique to perfection, no doubt about it, but... this is going further: you need to bear it inside you.

ONE <Seems like he is going to say something, but keeps quiet.>

TWO You live in black and white, Rhob. ¡When are you going to see the colour!

ONE <Pause.> Are you speaking about faith?

TWO Did you see the cyclists who passed by behind you a moment ago?

ONE What cyclists?

TWO ¡There you have it! I didn't even turn my head and I know for a fact that they passed by.

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

They repeat the groans alternately until slide 1 appears again.

BOTH <Standing face to the public:> Bruce <ONE raises his hand.> and Fred, <TWO raises his hand.> two spectators of a first-round tennis match of the Wimbledon Championship that has been suspended for the second day in a row after almost 10 hours of play.

TWO 59 to 59! 59 to 59!

ONE Well... Yesterday, Ayer, hacia la misma hora, salíamos de este mismo estadio con el partido igual de empatado que ahora. Comienza a ser aburrido, ¿no crees? Isner un game, Mahut un game, Isner conserva el servicio, Mahut conserva el servicio...Yesterday, at around the same time, we left the same stadium with the match tied just as it's now. It's starting to be boring, don't you think? One game for Isner, one game for Mahut, Isner keeps his service, Mahut keeps his service...

TWO Do you want me to help you with the box of...

ONE <Making effort:> No, don't worry. I can. Well, I don't want to be a killjoy, but I've been looking at the statistics and I get the feeling that it's not so unlikely.

TWO What is not so unlikely? ¡59 to 59 in the fifth set, Bruce! What we've seen today is history. And we still have to see tomorrow how much they have to play until someone deigns to win the fuck up.

ONE Yeah, yeah. No doubt today many records have been beaten. My point is that, for example, the rates of service games won by these two players are soaring. And yet the service break rates of both is very low. That's not just a coincidence. These are two players that together are destined to win each owns service and draw and draw and draw and draw...

TWO What if that Mahut was some sort of... Supreme Being? Don't know, say he was all-knowing and predicted Isner's beats and so could... <Surprised, talking slow and low:> W-h-a-t t-h-e f-u-c-k! <Muttering:> Turn around. Look at that.

ONE Now that is a Supreme Being. <Laughter.>

TWO I thought this kind of fans were just in football.

ONE You tell me... Come on, Fred, ¡stop looking at him!

TWO And besides that... he's dressed in orange. Why orange? Is any Dutchman playing today?

ONE Ah... <Pausa.> Dunno. Anyway, ignore him. What were you saying?

TWO Oh, yes. I mean... And what if Mahut was infinitely superior to Isner and was just voluntarily being outdone, d'you know? Say he was letting his opponent win every second game just to create this never-seen-before situation.

ONE I don't know, Fred. <Pause.> I fancy your theory, but it doesn't make any sense. Think it through: a match like this one had to take place at a certain moment of history.

TWO How do you mean "it had to?" Come on, Bruce, what are the probabilities!

ONE You've said it: pro-ba-bi-li-ties. They may be very little or, in other words, the lapse of time can be considered very lengthy. Infinite, if you want. The thing is that the probability exists. Anyway, let's just suppose that. If this had to happen, it's not uncommon that it happens precisely when two players with such tendencies to draw face each other. Without going too far, let's take the last game of Mahut: he was tied with a Serbian to more than 20 games in the final set.

TWO <In a know-it-all tone of voice:> And who won?

ONE Mahut.

TWO You see!

ONE You see what?! If you think Mahut is so superior, why doesn't he go win a Grand Slam directly instead of trying to break the record for longest game? <Laughter.> Let's go now or this is really going to be the longest discussion of history.

TWO <Laughter.> Say what you want, Bruce, but I bet you Mahut is gonna win.

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

They repeat the groans alternately until slide 1 appears again.

BOTH <Standing face to the public:> Larry, <ONE raises his hand.> a high school teacher, and Mr. Park, <TWO raises his hand.> the father of a student who has tried to bribe him.

TWO <With Eastern accent:> ¡Culture clash! ¡Culture clash!

ONE With all due respect, Mr. Park, I don't think it's that.

TWO <With Eastern accent:> Yes.

ONE <Making an effort:> No. It would be a culture clash if it were the custom in your land to bribe people for grades.

TWO <With Eastern accent:> Yes.

ONE So... you're saying it is the custom?

TWO <With Eastern accent:> No, this is defamation. Ground for lawsuit.

ONE Let me get this straight: You're threatening to sue me for defaming your son?

TWO <With Eastern accent:> Yes.

ONE But it would...

THREE <Approaches the table.> <Shrugging his shoulders and in deep voice:> Is this man bothering you?

ONE Is he bothering me? <Pause.> No. <Pause.> I, uh... <Pause. Waiting for THREE to leave.> See, look... If it were defamation, there would have to be someone I was defaming him to, or I... All right, let's keep it simple: I could pretend the money never appeared. That's not defaming anyone.

TWO <With Eastern accent:> Yes. And passing grade.

ONE Passing grade?

TWO <With Eastern accent:> Yes.

ONE Or you'll sue me?

TWO <With Eastern accent:> ...for taking money.

ONE So he did leave the money.

TWO <With Eastern accent:> This is defamation!

ONE It doesn't make sense. Either he left the money or he didn't.

TWO <With Eastern accent:> Please, accept the mystery.

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE <Groan.>

TWO <Groan.>

ONE turns off the projector.