For next week’s performances of “Sunk in Sleep,” cast members were asked to write freely (for at least 15-30 minutes) using subject matter and phrase material as impetus. The following are two examples of what bubbled up.
Roche Janken: “oceans. you—adrift for days on these oceans, waiting for help, waiting for the sight of a mast or a flag or a tree or a sail or even a cheap petticoat strung up on a pole—some sort of scarecrow offering to the wheeling gulls and endless waves. what are we doing here, adrift in this ocean? of course there is a story. life is one small story after the next—going going going gone. woke up again. ate breakfast again. called mom again. drifted on this ocean again. past the horizon, past the edge of the world. i had already thought we were at the edge of the world when we arrived at the cliffs. land sheared into crashing water—sound of water smacking stone the ceaseless soundtrack of this rugged, ragged shoreline. wind as well—varied in its listing rhythm like the snores of a sleeping lover. so we rolled towards this world across the wide asphalt expanse of lighthouse parking lot—left the known world of winding roads, of empty soda cups and rewrapped well chewed watermelon bubble gum, decades old maps and plastic car seats, plastic car cushions, crumbs of cheesy rectangles, radio tunes changing from county to county. we left that world. we left it to glide across the hot pavement to the lighthouse. a hundred years old—might as well have been a thousand. giant metal gears open heavy wooden doors, corridors lined with waxy shelves where candles must have sat, now illuminated by bare bulbs hung high out of reach. our steps certainly echo in the corridors of this tower. lighthouse—to warn the incoming ships that shore is nearby. to keep the ships from running aground in the black night. to call the ships to land, to bring them back to home. safe harbor. we take a final walk up spiraling stairs to the mirrored room. we are high—high as the gulls—high as the trees. we are high up and from that height i look out at the ocean, and of course i am small, i am lonely, i am drifting and no amount of love will bring me into harbor. no amount of love will return me to home. home was a ship at sea to begin with—drifting without an anchor, no land in sight.”
Tanya Chianese: “I imagine my young parents, vacationing to Catalina Island like we did annually my entire childhood. They have two tiny siamese sisters, napping on the beach or at our campsite. We always stayed at a site that had a whole view of the harbor, and best part was always nighttime when the little ships bobbed up and down in the dark dusk blanket. Their lights dancing. Those were always the happiest times, with family, full of love and having spent a whole day fishing, snorkeling with the fish, and sailing across little underwater villages. But I don’t think of those countless travels of my story and the memories that made me the mermaid at heart I am today. I think of my mom and my dad. What was it like for them, sitting by the fire roasting hot dogs and baked beans, planning and dreaming of the future. What did they expect Kate and I would do? Did they talk and hope for something they’ve never expressed to us? Our gifts of storytelling through our pens and our feet which make us the writer and dancer we became, did they foresee that? Not that it matters, they love us like I can’t describe anyway. I guess what I wonder more is when that is going to happen to me. Who will I be with, contemplating our children’s aspirations? How many kids will be even have? Will we be vacationing to Catalina? Kate and I always said we would together with our families, but now she may not even want one. What are my kids going to do?
Actually, I don’t care about any of this really. I mean, I can’t wait, but all I want right now is to go to the beach. See those ships in the night, bobbing up and down. Go skinny dipping in the ocean and lick the salt off my skin when it dries later. My friends are always surprised when I say my heart is in the sea. I guess they forget I grew up next to it or know quite how much time I spent in it. The to and fro of the waves are in my blood. Maybe I sway, in every possible connotation of that word, because of that.
Maybe I don’t realize it, but there is nowhere more safe than swimming underwater. There is thick comfort of life on every pore there. Whether filled with urine or tears or fish burps, it will not let you down. H20. More so than air, we underwater creatures share this connection.
Laughing underwater is really strange. It’s great actually. Inner body movements are magnified. Crying is heightened, because you can only feel it, not hear or see it. Kissing is nuts.
It’s also just one of the best places to remember how great life is. When scuba diving you’re mesmerized by everything, and beauty and ugliness are one, and are amazing. We need reminders on land to see like this, but never when we’re under the ocean’s surface and blessed with sight.
Another phenomenal thing we’re forced to realize and enjoy is we can’t be stagnant. You can’t not move. Even if you’re just floating on the water you are being transported by currents or waves. The idea of life never stopping is so scary to many, but people find it calming in the water. Why is that, when that non-stop quality is so present?
When I die I want my ashes thrown into the sea, just like my grandad’s were. That way I’ll never stop moving, just like when I was alive. Isn’t that cool?”