Team Reds Care Heater Company
Actor: Ellie Stewart, James Cain, Cassandra Tse, Patrick Barnes
Sound Design: Patrick Barnes
Director: Cassandra Tse
Writer: Cassandra Tse
Producer: Cassandra Tse
(Silence, which is not silent. The sounds that go unnoticed in everyday life; birds chirping outside the windows, electronics humming, distant traffic.
We sit in this for a while, until it begins to blend with the unsilent silence of the LISTENER’s own surroundings.
Then, we hear a VOICE. She is quite close to the LISTENER’s ear. As if right next to them.)
You’ve always known, haven’t you?
(She is warm, patient, wise.)
You felt in the back of wardrobes, and looked under beds. You brewed potions out of muddy water and flower petals. You closed your eyes and counted to ten. Spun around. Widdershins. You saw things move in the stillest shadows. Sensed – they called you ‘sensitive’. You cried on your eleventh birthday. You waited, and you wished.
And today, my friend. This is the moment of alignment, of calling. You always knew you were special, and you were right. More right than you know.
Who am I?
I come from a time before names. Think of me as… a messenger. A tutor – no, a mentor. A guide to your new existence. Metaphysically speaking, I am unimportant. I am merely here to illuminate your path to greatness.
Enough about me. You, my friend, you are the subject of the day. You can feel it, can’t you? It’s like a switch was flipped somewhere inside you. Look at your hands.
(A beat while the LISTENER does so.)
There’s something different about them, hmm? A tiny, near imperceptible difference perhaps, but they are not the same hands you had yesterday.
It’s all different. Your weight in your chair. The specks in the corner of your vision. And in your blood – ah, that’s where you feel it. Like sparks, crackling through you. Energy. Power.
You… are… infinite.
(She laughs again, as if she knows something you do not. Then she continues:)
My role is simple. I will teach you how to harness and direct this energy. To focus what is inside you into an external, physical manifestation. You’re still with me?
Good. Good. Then let’s begin. You might want to get yourself a glass of water. Or not. But some people find their first channelling experience a little dehydrating. So I’m told.
(Pause. Perhaps the LISTENER is getting a glass of water.)
For our first attempt, I’d like to try something simple. A breath transfiguration. Shall we try it now?
Alright. I’m going to ask you to take a nice big breath in. Right down to the bottom of your lungs… yes, that’s good. Now hold it, and in your head repeat after me – hen, ániti, éthian. Hen, ániti, éthian. And now, we’re going to slowly release that breath, as we count backwards from ten…
(Over the course of these ten counts, we hear a rush of wind. A huge, powerful gust. It peaks and then fades out as the VOICE reaches ‘one’ – at its peak, the VOICE is almost shouting over the top of it. The gust of wind knocks over some things and we hear them spill including required SX.)
…nine… eight… seven… six… five… four… three… two… one.
(A brief pause, and then the VOICE herself exhales.)
Wow. That was – you’re very good at this.
Take a moment to recover. Have some of that water, if you like. Check in with your body. Do you feel drained? Relaxed?
Shall we try something else? This is a simple energy redirection. No incantations required.
I’d like you to focus on that sound in the distance. That little rhythmic one. Tap, tap, tap.
(As she speaks, a sound comes into focus amongst the background noise. It’s very distant, muffled.)
You can hear it, I know you can. Concentrate.
(As if responding to the VOICE’s instruction, the sound becomes a little more prominent.)
It’s over at your neighbours’ house. Focus on it.
(Again, it becomes a tiny bit more prominent.)
Try to ignore everything else around it. Direct all your energy towards that sound.
(Now, the rest of the background noise dies down, and the sound is quite prominent. It’s a dripping tap.)
Ah, there we are. Your neighbours’ bathroom tap. It’s been dripping like this for months. The seal needs replacing.
Or, you could do it for them. Why don’t you make that tap stop dripping?
(A pause. The dripping continues, steadily.)
Come on. You can do this. Just concentrate, and focus your energy.
(No effect. The dripping continues. When the VOICE speaks again, there is a tone of frustration we haven’t heard from her before.)
Okay, stop messing around. Just stop the tap.
(At last, the dripping stops. A moment of silence [after which the background sounds very slowly creep back in under the dialogue]. The VOICE sounds relieved.)
There. That wasn’t so difficult, was it? All you had to do was really concentrate that essential power and then [direct it out toward your external target.]
(The VOICE fades out, though she continues speaking. Suddenly, a NEW VOICE appears, speaking over the top of her.)
Hello? Can you hear me? I don’t have much time.
(He sounds a lot more uncertain than the first VOICE, and speaks with urgency.)
Listen, you don’t have to do this, okay? I know it sounds like what she’s offering you is a gift, but it’s a curse. Trust me. I can’t emphasise –
(The SECOND VOICE cuts off abruptly. The FIRST VOICE is back. She sighs with relief.)
There you are. We lost contact for a moment.
You know, I was worried you’d gone off to do some experimentation. Of course, that’s well within your abilities, but all that raw energy without knowledge of the proper incantations, without appropriate guidance… it can be dangerous.
That’s why I’m here. To show you the path… help you channel your powers into something productive.
And you’re doing so well, my friend. You truly are… gifted.
Now, shall we try something else?
For this next task, you’ll need to find a stranger. Perhaps someone you see across the room, out your window, in their car. If you don’t see anyone around, you may have to reach out beyond sight. Is there someone in the house across the street?
We are going to peer inside this person’s mind. Just a little peek! Nothing sinister, I promise – we won’t leave a trace.
Listen to them breathing.
(Very quietly, the sound of even breaths in the background noise.)
Breathe with them. In, out, in. And there –
Feel your heartbeat match theirs.
(A few moments where the sound of breathing and heartbeat grow louder in the LISTENER’s ears.)
Now, in a moment, I’ll give you an incantation. You can say it aloud if you like, or just think it in your head.
(She sounds so proud of the LISTENER:)
You are so far beyond the need for verbal expression. Your powers are much greater than that.
Alright. Focus. Concentrate. Breath and heartbeat. And here is the incantation: dérkomai.
(With an almighty whoosh, we are plunged into the cacophony of the person’s brain. Many sounds overlaid, including the same four bars of a song looped over and over, and the following scenes played concurrently:)
Brain Scene One
Milk, eggs, chicken breasts, face wash, broccoli, olive oil, soy sauce, go to the dentist, pick up drycleaning, pick up the kids, go to the bank. Milk, eggs, chicken breasts, face wash, broccoli, olive oil, soy sauce, go to the dentist, pick up drycleaning, pick up the kids, go to the bank.
Brain Scene Two
You know what your problem is? You’re emotionally dishonest. You don’t even have the guts to commit to feeling what you’re feeling and it’s like dating a fucking scientist poking me like I’m a fucking lab experiment.
Brain Scene Three
And remember you still have one more chance to call in and win a free double pass to Six60 at Mt Smart Stadium. All you need to do is call us on 0800 86 86 86 and tell us all about your wildest ever weekend. That’s 0800 86 86 86 for that, and while we wait for your calls to roll in, here’s a new tune from Sam Smith and Kim Petras.
(Another whoosh and the cacophony is over. The VOICE is still here, though, and she is laughing. At you.)
Ah… sorry, it’s just… your face!
(She calms down.)
I know, I know, it’s very disorienting your first time. You’ll get used to it. Now imagine what it’s like hearing that from everyone… all at once… all the time…
(A pause, then she recovers herself.)
Let’s try something a little quieter, hmm? Another physical manipulation, but internal. A direct energy transfer. You look a little cold right now. Why don’t you warm yourself up?
This is the incantation you’ll need to repeat:
Heng, pir, perznya.
Heng, pir, perznya.
(As the VOICE speaks, it is overlaid with a loop of her own voice, quietly whispering the incantation over and over).
Feel the warmth start in your core. It stirs in your stomach and travels up to your lungs, your heart. Now feel that warmth spreading down your arms, heating the tips of your fingers. Your legs feel warmer now too, all the way down to your toes. Your face is flushing. The roots of your hair. You are bathed in warmth – radiating – you are –
(The SECOND VOICE cuts in again. The VOICE and her whispered incantation stop abruptly).
It isn’t worth it! She’s going to offer you what she once offered me, but she won’t tell you the cost until it’s paid –
(The FIRST VOICE cuts over the SECOND.)
You know what I admire about you, my friend? You have a strong will. It’s true, you are not the first person I have guided into their power – I am, as I said, older than names – but you are among the strongest that I have ever encountered. For others… this power overwhelms them. They are too… weak, or perhaps unfocused, to properly control it. But not you. It’s like you were born for this… and perhaps you were.
Let’s continue. We’re going to return to our external energy manipulations this time. This will be another task requiring another person, our subject. Tell me… who do you hate?
(A pause. The LISTENER doesn’t name anyone.)
Come on. You could have at least lied to me. You are human, aren’t you? Surely there is someone… an ex-friend who made your life miserable, perhaps? An irritating acquaintance? A politician?
We’re not going to kill them or anything! You’re not quite at that level yet. We’re just going to make their day a little worse. Put their universe into misalignment.
What I’m going to ask you to do is picture this person’s face. See it hanging in the air in front of you. They’re doing that thing, aren’t they? That thing that makes your skin crawl, makes you grit your teeth. Watch them.
(From this point onwards, the reverb on the VOICE gets greater and greater. She begins to sound otherworldly and terrifying. In the background, we hear the crackling of a fire.)
And now… you are going to make their face melt.
Look at their face and notice there is a wick sticking out of the top of their head. Their face is a candle, ready to be set alight.
Heng, pir, perznya.
And now it has been lit, and you see that their face is made of wax. Softening wax. You are doing so well, my friend. See them melt. Their forehead dripping into their eye sockets. Their chin distorting into stalactites.
(The SECOND VOICE cuts in over the top.)
Please, don’t do this. Infinite power… what she has… do you think it makes her happy? Would she be doing this if she were happy?
(Continuing, louder to drown out SECOND VOICE)
Entropy. The colours of your enemy begin to meld together. Holes form in the crown of their head. Liquid pools around the wick.
That’s what she’s going to do, you know. She’ll make you like her. That’s what she did to me. I became powerful beyond measure.
(Snapping, addressing SECOND VOICE for the first time)
And you were ungrateful. Not like my new friend, who is so close to breaking through. So close to coming into their own.
(The soundscape swells behind the VOICES as they argue)
And it cost me my humanity. That’s the price. That’s what she’s going to take from you.
I take what is necessary. I give in abundance.
It’s lonely, being like this. I can manipulate time and space, see every mind at once, but I have no self to see it with.
(Addressing the LISTENER)
Turn yourself against him. He is afraid of your potential.
I am trying to warn you.
What is infinite power worth? What is the use of a soul?
You still have time. You can stop this.
You can embrace this.
There is an incantation –
You must never use it –
It will undo your power. It will restore you to who you were.
A weakling’s choice. The choice of a coward.
Only you know what it is. It is your own.
Become what you were born to be.
It is your name, but not the way it is written on forms.
Close your ears to him. Do not listen.
It is as a woman said it. One who loved you.
Do not give this up.
Your mother, perhaps. Your grandmother, or aunt. Think of her now.
There is still time.
Think of the way she called your name, when she meant ‘I love you.’
You would have been perfect.
Say it now.
(The sound cuts out, sharply. The VOICES are both gone. Only the unsilent silence remains. We sit for a few seconds, listening to the bird song. Then, that too fades away.)