Saturday, 26 January 2013

Chris Port Blog #343. The Lom, The Rope and the Gymnasium

The Lom, The Rope and the Gymnasium
© Chris Port, 26th January 2013

Last night’s nightmare is evaporating like dew in the sun. But I can still remember one subplot.

I was alone in a school gym, working out how to deaden the acoustics for a theatre performance, when Herbert Lom walked in. I don’t mean Herbert Lom the actor. I mean Herbert Lom in character as a villain.

He was affably sinister, dangerously urbane. We smoked Turkish cigarettes from his gold case while gaining the measure of each other. We duelled like snobs over vintages, wine temperatures, and the best way to gut fugu. Since I care nothing for these things, I played the Socratic ingénue. This annoyed him and so the conversation turned to the real duel.

I’m not sure what it was about, but it had to be fought with battle axes. I’m not sure where they came from, but he handed me one. It was big and heavy and ugly.

Then came the rules. A rope appeared in his hands. He threw one end on the floor and began to feed it out. It slithered like a snake and magically grew in length as he outlined the combat arena.

It was a deformed circle. I remarked on the kinks in the perimeter – which further irritated him. I took the rope from his hands and began to lay down a more complex shape.

The rope grew and grew in my hands – hundreds of feet. I roamed the gym, describing more and more complicated shapes: rockpools, bottlenecks, killing zones.

Lom grew nervous. I hadn’t broken the rules. But I had changed them. He excused himself to check with hidden superiors that the rule changes were acceptable.

Then my Head of Department walked in. He looked at the rope. He frowned at the axe. He asked me if these were part of the play. I sighed, wondered how to explain, and woke up.

The main plot was something to do with a receipt. But it’s terribly complicated and would take a whole theatre performance to explain.

1 comment:

  1. On the subject of dreams and the Theatre of the Absurd, keep an eye out for a delightful little Swedish black comedy called 'You, The Living' (or 'Du Levande' if you want to sound academic). It's a succession of 50 short sketches, mostly about how mean and stupid and miserable and absurd life is. But very funny.

    I can't find the full movie yet, but this clip where a man tells us of his nightmare during a traffic jam in the rain is one of my favourite scenes. I literally roared with laughter when the family's guilty secret was exposed under the tablecloth. And he's right. His punishment was a bit extreme.

    Du Levande - The Trial

    See 'You, The Living',_the_Living