Avatar Body Collision

Come & Go

Flo, Vi and Ru

Come & Go was written by Samuel Beckett in 1965; it's a very short play - a "dramaticule" consisting of 30 lines of dialogue, detailed directions and a diagram to illustrate the precise positions of the three performers.

Beckett had (and still has, despite his death!) a reputation for being an exacting author, insisting that productions of his plays adhere to the letter of his scripts. Adding a touch of music here, or a contemporary reference there, is a big no-no. So how to stage his work in cyberspace? and why?.

Although we appropriate quotations, characters and themes from world drama, mythologies and fables, we have never attempted to stage 'a proper play'. We have mixed motives for staging a published play: firstly we were looking for a script, as an experiment. All our work so far has been devised, and remote devising is a time-consuming exercise that frequently goes off on surprising tangents. Not a bad thing, although when you're working to a deadline, with limited resources, it can be a tricky process to manage. We thought it would be an interesting experiment, and perhaps a shorter process, to have a go at staging a published script. What is interesting about our choice, is that we selected a play that requires immense precision, not only because of the highly structural way in which it is written, but because of the exacting stage directions of the author, Samuel Beckett. This is compounded by the fact that the Beckett estate requires that we follow the author's instructions to the letter. While we aim to present the script as precisely as possible - precision is a tricky thing in the unstable ground of virtual performance.

The play is performed using UpStage and it is directed by Karla Ptacek (in the character of Tito Alberto, a dictatorial director reincarnated from the[abc]experiment).

A letter from the director:

Beckett is perfect for cyberformance, and he is also a tyrant, like me, so I find it easy to admire him. I chose this little play 'Come and Go' because it demands that all behaviours and mannerisms are restrained, all emotions expressed in shorthand - a little 'oh!' of surprise, of regret, of recrimination perhaps. Physical gestures are kept to an absolute minimum - no touching!. Memories are conjured up and shared in the briefest of references. Repetition and cycles predominate - this play could loop indefinitely with slight variations ad infinatum.

What kind of world is this? A flat, 2d world in which what appears on the surface is merely a shadow of what lies beneath.

For me this is also a description of cyberformance. Three stiff little avatars move across the surface of your screens, myself included, moved by hands unseen, by thoughts and desires at a distance.

Tito Alberto, director
(via translators)