Theatre is borne along the vanishing moment. Its imagery is captured briefly and then released. If it is sustained at all, it is sustained in memory. But, that is a shadow and abstraction of the actual image. Even still, that remembrance may be just as real, just as actual because it is just as brief. To bring the image into memory, into its depths of meaning, theatre plays upon the fragile ephemerality of the stage, where its power is harnessed, where it’s at once the image, at once the memory. Yet, the immediate and exposed image contradicts the deep and hidden memory. The symbol is necessary to unify them because the symbol reverberates its meaning into image through memory, becoming the unified paradox.

Upon the stage, the symbol is made true from memory, is made actual into image and at its apex expunges memory so that it can be made real in the character of image, only to succumb into memory as the moment vanishes into the next moment of memory. The symbol arises from a collective meaning inherited from shared memory that is individually expressed. And because of its individual actuality, it can contradict the collective meaning. The symbol, then, not only unifies the image with memory, it unifies the individual with the collective.

If a box falls onto a character and the character does not die, but instead breaks through it holding five beautiful roses (five beautiful roses he did not have before the box fell on him), except that one of the roses has wilted and upon seeing that lonely wilting, the character wilts, falls onto one of the jagged pieces of the broken box and is pierced in the heart, what does your memory unify?

What if, instead of that, the character just says ‘hello,’ but means all of that? What is the image from that word?

The image forms beyond subtext, is deeper than subtext, so much so that each word, each phrase, has an image surmounting subtext, discovering itself into a fantastic, brief symbol.

If before (or after) the character says hello, another character runs into the heat of the sun and that character is slobbering and that character’s lips are dry, except that, suddenly, the sun is blanketed by a cloud so that that character trips over a rose and its thorn cuts that character’s skin, what does your memory unify?

What if, instead of that, that character simply says, ‘I tried to take my time,’ but means all of that? What is the image from these words? And those words, how do they vanish into the word that follows them?

If between what is said a tree is felled and shapes into a flower box and soil carefully drapes into it by an unseen hand, and the hand is clear and perfect, but the soil still dirties it, makes it full of mud, what does your memory unify? Is ‘unify’ the necessary term? What about ‘release’?

What if, instead of that, there is a brief silence, but the silence means all of that? What is the image from that silence? How does that silence speak the words that come before it and come after it?

Soil Collapses

A play in Five Acts

A bare stage. A character stands and waits. Another character rushes onto the stage and collapses at the first character’s feet.

ANOTHER CHARACTER RUSHES:                I tried to take my time.

A brief silence.

A CHARACTER STANDS:                               Hello.


The symbol spoken aloud deep within the word that is silence, that is the soul of character. Even the most mundane tasks, phrases, meanings, carry a deep symbolic significance upon the stage, contradicting character objectives, subtexts and actions, contradicting plot, climax and resolution until the symbol upends and upturns them giving value to what lacks value so that the image is unified in memory with invaluable briefness.