by Joyelle McSweeney on Oct.11, 2013
As I’ve been transmitting through the ectoplasm, my play, “Dead Youth, or, The Leaks” is being given a staged reading by Fiona Templeton’s performance group, The Relationship, this Monday, Oct 14, at 6:30, at the New Ohio Theatre in the Village. I would love for people to come out, because the event is intended to memorialize Leslie Scalapino, of whose stage-works Templeton is the major interpreter. Of course I am incredibly grateful to Fiona Templeton, E. Tracy Grinell, and Caroline Bergvall for selecting my work for this prize in honor of Leslie Scalapino, and I also feel like a sister-in-arms with the army of 400 women who wrote plays to memorialize Leslie.
I’ve described my play’s relationship to Leslie Scalapino’s body of work, here, but I thought I would include an excerpt from the play to give you some flavor of what’s in store on Monday. This is a little aria delivered by Julian Assange in the second act of the play; it raises the farcical energy to such a level that it becomes an almost tensile material by which Abdi Wali Abdulqadir Muse (the teenage Somalian ‘pirate’) can board the stolen container ship on which the play is set and set the main plot in motion. (The plot involves helping Muse avoid incarceration in Terre Haute, IN. Well, that’s one plot.)
From Dead Youth, or, The Leaks:
JULIAN ASSANGE (patting the shoulder of DEAD YOUTH, calming them, distributing pills, talking a kind of soothing patter).
Hello, I am Julian Assange, I’ve been assassinated by my mother.
My mother was divine. A divine assassination.
She edited and improved me.
She shot me full of gold.
Protected me, gilt me, guided me, hid me, and bought me a Commodore 64
Now I endeavor to be a golden like my mother
to radiate hot pixels of information
to cell-divide forever
to stage a pussy riot, to offer teens of all nations
hot gobblets of information
pus-gold and liberating, the rays of my inflammation.
These pets you see gathered around me are little runts
I’ve collected from the NICU ward in Memorial Hospital in South Bend
Indiana. Poor things were born
addicted to oxycodone, oxycontin, valium and other narcotics.
Born like princesses with lotus feet. Only things fit them
are Nikes and IV’s. Poor things are asleep.
I had to save them from the cuddler army of 54 retiree
church organists, an invasive species.
I carry in this box a little code to feed them on.
sorry a little comb, they’re bees.
Please help yourself before helping others, little species
little protégées. It’s on demand!
It’s all you can eat on repeat forever.
in the event of two similar die-offs, the greater of two die-offs is
still similar. Infinity resembles infinity to the dead.
That’s why they need a mom like me
and how I can be one: resemblance
is a magick power. I copy my mother
& live here in drag like a mortal.
I just don’t have a normal mortal motor.
I’m an abnormal mater!
But unlike cancer, I have a motive.
It’s to keep these teens alive on the Internet.
I feed them like roses, I feed them privacee.
My motive is indetectible to you
because you don’t want to see it.
But my moralitee is a rare and strong growth.
It configures a colonee.
It grows in night vision.
It thrives on unnatural light.