Sam Ward in [insert slogan here], as part of the Edinburgh Fringe 2018.Sam Ward is so gentle with us. He holds us as if we are children, waiting to be told that everything will be okay. He is joined by Conan The Librarian (Ryan Gilmartin), a video artist, and Ola Rae (Charlotte Barber) a sound designer. He smiles at us. His earring glints in the light. I feel so very safe with you. He lies on bright yellow flooring, slowly moving his hand over his sternum and holding a microphone to his chest. I wonder if we might be able to hear his heart.
Then, a huge projection envelops the back wall. A small boy at the beach. He is running and playing. He is a memory. It seems a perfect day, and he is a perfect little boy. Sam is lying on the floor in front, describing his memory to us. We think it is his memory, at least.
To feel, to really feel, is a rare thing these days
I feel like I could tell you just about anything, even in this room full of people watching. I feel close to you. To your memories. The stories you tell us as you recreate Volvo adverts. The deftness of touch. I am feeling something for the first time in a long time. If we own something, we have been connected with. As you ask us to keep our hands raised if we are wearing a watch it occurs to me that everything I own is an attempt to find a life I wish I had. An attempt to feel, maybe. In a show so rooted in human connection it is strange to realise I don’t think you feel connected at all.
We recreate an advert. An advert you wished you were in as a child. It is not fully formed, of course. The candles are battery powered and the car is made of cardboard boxes. The people you bring up on stage are painfully real, though. When she tells you about who she is in love with it feels like the world has shrunk down and it’s only you two on stage. Then I think about tomorrow night, and how you will do this again, and it will be someone different and they will feel like the most important person in the world. I think about how you have practised this a million times. I think about you writing the words into a word document, making them fit exactly right.
Sometimes the moments that don’t happen, are the ones that matter the most
A perceived sense of intimacy carries me through the hour. Is loving someone enough if it’s never real? Can I love a car? Does this love matter the most because it never existed in the first place? The cynicism that was so well hidden in the cracks of Five Encounters rears its head in the spaces in between [insert slogan]. Something twinges. For a moment you were listened to. For a moment you are told that everything is okay. For a moment, you are the most important person. This is all for you, can’t you see? Everything we do, it’s for you.
First we understand, then we make
You dance awkwardly at first. Your bodies don’t exactly fit together like they should do. You whisper in his ear. Rest your head gently on his shoulder and something shifts in my stomach. The candles around you glow and flicker, they illuminate your mouth whispering in his ear. You laugh so gently, and wrap your arms tighter around him. I feel like I’m intruding. I feel like this is a moment between you and yet. In the background a car races through a green landscape. It is, you are, idyllic. I wonder if he can hear your heart. I realise that maybe I don’t know you like he does.
I realise that maybe I don’t know you, at all.
[insert slogan here] is on at ZOO Sanctuary until 19th August 2018. Click here for more details.