Friday night, while waiting for the play Oscar and the Pink Lady to begin, I wrote my first play. In its entirety.
The Pink Lady was performed at the Old Globe's Cassius Carter Centre Stage - a theater in the round, the stage completely surrounded by seats. As you look past the stage, you see other theater goers looking at the stage. The play started a little late and I found myself quite enjoying the notion that the play would not be performed and the audience would simply have to watch one another watching one another, never particularly sure whether we were performers or in the audience, a role similar to what we all have in life. The brain is able to contemplate itself contemplating itself - a particular trick of recursion that makes us self aware and thus more advanced. Watching the audience begin to watch the audience, I got the idea for my play. Why not, then, have an audience watching itself watch itself - a particular trick of contemplation and entertainment that could, indeed, mean something different for each member of the audience?
And this is my entire play. 45 minutes of the audience in the round watching other members of the audience in the round, the stage becoming secondary to the drama of fidgeting, stolen glances, and muted emotion.
Thinking about it later, I realized that this isn't really a completely new idea. It is, in fact, just a dramatic variation of John Cage's 4 minutes 33 seconds, a musical composition in which no music in played and the audience is free to project onto the pianist (or full orchestra) what they like. Cage's composition is provided here, for your (listening? viewing? contemplating?) pleasure. If my play had musical accompaniment, I suppose I would need to use Cage's composition. I thoroughly enjoyed this BBC broadcast of Cage's composition. I hope you do too.