GIRL (looking at the sky in search
of a cloud) Ah. I believe the sea is calling me.
MAN (rapidly) All right. The
goldfish. You used to like them. Do you remember? We ‘used to feel’ admiration
for creatures that look from one side to another, from right to left. They work
out what’s in front of them. Then, you and I ‘used to feel’ love for the same
GIRL (looking at the sky again)
MAN At night you ‘used to feel’
frightened. You said we had to put light in the goldfish bowl, because the fish
were colliding in the darkness and they ‘used to feel’ fear.
GIRL (more pedantically, if
appropriate, than until now, and moving towards him) Admiration? Love? Fear?
Let’s leave these other terms I don’t understand until another day. Let us
concentrate on ‘to feel’. I know what’s meant by ‘idiosyncrasy’, ‘jurisprudence,
‘mannerism’, ‘ontology’, and, of course, the most complex terms in musical
theory. But I don’t know what it is ‘to feel’ and nine out of every ten words
you use are related to that one.
MAN It isn’t easy to explain . . .
GIRL For example, can you have a
feeling that doesn’t have a name?
MAN It is more a feeling the less
it has a name. That is where this world has always been wrong and where music
has almost always got it right.
GIRL Or, for example: (Showing a
finger) first you feel the feeling and (Showing a second finger)
then you give it a name or (Hides the two fingers and shows one again)
you first invent a word and (Showing a second finger) then ‘you
takes out the notebook and hastily notes down the questions.)
make it simple: (a) do you like things because they are pretty, or (b)
are they pretty because you like them? Easier still: (a) are you
happy because you sing, or (b) do you sing because you are happy?
MAN You’re going too fast. You’re
going too fast.
tries out a conventional whimper. The Man
honestly, child, I don’t know why you want to have feelings. For every good one
you have, you have ten bad ones, believe me. In this world we have all gone mad
because of emotions. They’re the root of all of Man’s worst actions.
exerts herself more in her acting out of sentimental dejection. She cries
irritatingly. Abruptly, she stops crying.)
GIRL How’s that?
MAN What’s more, you probably cry
already, in your way, without realising. The fact is: you already live in a
tear. You cry, but you cannot perceive it. Look. If my tears were made of air I
would not be able to perceive it either. I wouldn’t know if I cried or not. I
wouldn’t notice the difference because my cheeks are in contact with air like
yours with water. You should cry tears of air for it to work.
GIRL Or ping pong balls.
MAN For example. (He breathes
GIRL Do you know? Will you teach me?
MAN Of course. I will teach you to
imitate feelings. I see nothing wrong in that. I’ll teach you to cry tears of
ping pong, that’s a promise. They have a magnificent sound and you will change
sadness for joy as easily as when you were two.
GIRL Cry ping pong tears. Come on.
Now. Cry ping pong tears. Now. Now. Now. (She turns ‘now’ into an irritating
childish chant. Pause.)
MAN It’s just that I prefer to shed
tears of salt water, child. (Pause) As long as you’re in each
of the sea. A cloud begins to invade the stage. The Man
looks at the sky.)