SÉANCE IN TWO MOVEMENTS
Matthew D. Reading,
Séance in Two Movements
An audience is seated within a theater. House lights on to
encourage conversation. Hidden microphones surround the
audience, as do hidden speakers. After several minutes, the
microphones begin recording ambient conversation. The
recordings are then played through the speakers at a very
low volume. Delay of no more than six seconds. Individual
speakers and microphones are paired for maximum spatial
effect. Volume increases slowly. Eventually, the
microphones are picking up not only live conversation but
recorded conversation as well. After twenty-five minutes,
the theater should be engulfed in a palimpsest of chatter.
Lights dim slowly, volume decreasing at same rate.
Curtain rises on nearly bare stage. Spotlight on figure
sitting at table down center. On the table is a telephone
with a microphone next to its speaker. The figure is still
for several moments before dialing a number at random.
Audience hears call being placed over speaker phone. When
the recipient of the phone call answers, they hear their
voice amplified throughout the theater. Spotlight fades at
dial tone, curtain descends at recorded operator message
with volume decreasing to silence.