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Here then is our opening argument—an argument put forward by shadows, misfits, rejects, by the deformed and the dysfunctional. From here we move forward to present evidence by way of heightened testimony. No verdict can be reached; no psychodrama attain the gestalt of catharsis and transformation; without evidence. Without hearing that which is hushed into silence and viewing that which is hidden from polite public view.

Look at us, remember: a self mutilating crippled dancer, a mad bound woman, a crucified hunchback. The ensemble of grotesque star witnesses. And both defense and prosecution. But you, you are the jury. You are the ones who will carry decisions with you beyond these doors of symbolic presentation and serious pretending. For now, let us shape this space to the purpose of drama. We do but play act at that which is too real, that which goes unaddressed, that which we also are. Thus we are prepared—to insert here a quotation from ecopsychologist Andy Fisher commenting on Freud’s most terrifying observation—prepared, that is, to expose you to and wound you also with some of the myriad shapes and faces; and here I quote; of “the demonic terror hidden in the depth of the modern mind behind the façade of consciousness.” The “as if” of our trial takes us from the propaganda of civilization into the problematic of normalcy; from
the bright light of entertainment and commerce, to the dim shadow lands of betrayal and death. Within the spectrum of violence it is not color that registers most—it is darkness.

Blank air. Despair. Anxiety. Angst. Desperation. Blank space. Incarceration. Blank wall. Blank wall.


Second banner is displayed, reading DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEX CRIMES, PEDOPHILIA.


Since childhood I have had a gripping and crippling fear of moving before others. Moving, I dare say, with simple, unguarded directness, with a sort of natural flow; going legato; with any bit of genuine, spontaneous, unrestricted animation; like dancing. Like a bird in the grace of flight, a fish swimming, a flower flowering, or liberating laughter, or free, free unconscious play. Even with a bit of warmth, a modest hint of sensuality. I mean, just being sensually visible as a woman in a public space. It’s hard! It’s hard! But I am trying to overcome my strange, suffocating disability; this malediction I have and call my God-convulsion. I am practicing right now. Although it is perpetually dark around me, I imagine I am illuminated, even inwardly luminous, delicately sheltered inside of a subtle something only I can see. Like a bubble of yellow pollen. Only when the ecstasy comes on, how I wish it was not so strong, so violent, leaving me knocked out, afterward in a coma!

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About David Sparenberg

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David Sparenberg is a poet-playwright, actor, primarly Shakespearean, stage director, storyteller. His literary work has appeared in over 100 print periodicals and journals, a few ezines as well, and he was a regular contributor to THE TRUMPETER, a deep ecology journal out of Victoria, for years. Presently doing some performance work for the Las Vegas-Clark...read more County Library District, the author was formerly a 20 year resident of Seattle and visitor to Vancouver. He has a play dealing with cancer as an environmental epidemic that an independent filmmaker in Montreal will be making a film version of in the coming months. Creative information on David Sparenberg can be obtained at http://dsOfferings.blogspot.com SHADOWS is part of a now being published book entitled PLAY for An American Activist Theatre, autographed copies of which can be obtained from David at EarthArtsTurtleIsland@yahoo.com, and any persons seeking to produce the play for performance should contact David for permission.


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