Early Morning Song
This selection is from the full length script conceived and developed in collaboration with Steve Busa and Miriam Must (Red Eye Theater)
The story never stops beginning or ending... Its (in)finitude subverts every notion of completeness and its frame remains a non-totalizable one... The story circulates like a gift; an empty gift which anybody can lay claim to by filling it to taste, yet can never truly possess. A gift built on multiplicity. One that stays inexhaustible within its own limits. Its departures and arrivals. Its quietness.
—Trinh Minh-ha, Woman, Native, Other
So play the game ‘Existence’ to the end... Of the beginning, of the beginning Of the beginning, of the beginning Of the beginning, of the beginning Of the beginning, of the beginning
— The Beatles, “Tomorrow Never Knows”
ONE Unknown Female Scientist, awake
TWO Unknown Female Scientist, dreaming
THREE Unknown Female Scientist, recognizing
FOUR Unknown Female Scientist, passing
FIVE Unknown Female Scientist, luminous
SIX Unknown Female Scientist, becoming
An empty space, in which an Archive is built. This building process might be an intricate physical vocabulary, a new single verb.
To be defined
An Archive in the making, it is infinite and vibrant and also sentient
FIVE: I later became a scientist.
TWO: Television programming, tapioca pudding, crying in Target, walking to school, no better or worse, it felt different, very tiny, no particular desire to do these things, fantasy world, a figure skater disappears, photo, made out of the rays of the sun, stalks of corn
ONE and TWO: What did I eat?, all I wanted was a cockatiel, first grade incident
THREE: Woman with long hair, later on, going to school, sense of identity, flights of stairs, during the day, kids were allowed to rank themselves, when I left home, competitions, she told me she saw, turned the corner, little secrets about someone who hurt my feelings, throwing them behind her, waiting for the bus
ONE and THREE: An enormous deal, who got to sit in that seat
ONE: Started to learn about, they were just always talking, trickled into middle school, wanting to learn every single lyric, vests, beautiful white cars,
ONE and THREE and FOUR: Picking that up as a language as well, how do you express yourself a world to escape in and a world to live in,
FOUR: When we were young, a big presentation, damn, if I could articulate the way that they were structured, started to put words to feelings or impulses, but that’s when,
FOUR and FIVE: Doing whatever your brain is telling you to do, changing but I think that, Catholic, very active when it came to
FIVE: The things that make things scary, excused from school that day, safest place to be, fitting into these social structures, rules for how to be doing this, little things like where everything had to go, understanding, Relationship that changed over time, external reaction, learning how to speak, I had a lisp, they corrected my speech, insecure, focusing on a position within it, when it’s worth saying "hi" to someone in the hall,
FIVE, SIX, and ONE: "Hi, how are you"
ONE: I’m fine, how are you?
SIX: Do you really want to know?
SIX: It will take me at least six hours to tell you.
ONE: Six hours?
SIX: The bell’s gonna ring soon.
ONE: Tell me anyway.
SIX: We moved a lot, escape my body, maybe that’s all that I am, really starting to see the walls of the system, yeah okay so you show me that and, conversations that we take for granted, a historical text, green sugar cake, I was trying to simultaneously, yellow red green red blue, I guess the idea of it was how do I become, navigating, four days a week for five hours a day, very vivid, I willfully for whatever reason put myself in that situation, spray painting, spending most of your time thinking about,
SIX and TWO: You need stakes but also no stakes—
FOUR: I became a scientist. No, you haven’t heard of me.
TWO: One of my favorite colleagues in the field—her name is Hope. She said, “A root can become a stem if need be, and vice versa.”
THREE: She said, “I’m going to make my life into something.”
FOUR: Start with a shelf. Then a book.
TWO: Hope goes here.
FOUR: I’m making an archive. Start with a box. Then an object.
TWO: Roots and stems go here.
SIX: No, you haven’t heard of me.
TWO: I later became a scientist. I’m working on archiving my whole life. My whole life to this point.
FOUR: And actually, beyond this point. I’m working on archiving my whole life.
TWO: I’m gathering up this life and then archiving it. Well not “then” – I’m doing both, at the same time. It’s better that way, like cleaning as you cook.
THREE: To be clear, I’m not talking about writing an autobiography. And frankly, I’m not even talking about memory at all, which, as we already know, is a house.
TWO: A palace.
FOUR: A whole different ballgame. No. I’m talking about an Archive.
SIX: I became a scientist.
ONE: A life is composed of much more than its highlights.
TWO: A life is composed of much more than its events.
ONE: You might think a life moves through time, but–
TWO: You might think a life is singular, but–
THREE: Let’s start by making a hyperlink pathway through an infinite cycle, shall we?
FOUR: Here: Thoughts born, language born.
TWO: Here: Buried old root of the word Creation— "an appointment, a choice"
ONE: To create is to choose
FOUR: Here: Humans jump to conclusions. We assumed shape: crescent moon, croissant.
TWO: Here: Humans can learn. Crescendo.
FOUR: Here: Buried old root of the word Invention— "to come upon; find out; discover, devise"
ONE: To invent is to find
THREE: Here: We all create
ONE: War, peace, communities, ourselves And then there’s Oprah, “manifest culture”—
THREE: Oh my god.
TWO and FOUR: Here: What are we creating Here: What are we inventing ourselves for, or toward? ourselves for, or toward?
THREE: Eventually, I became a scientist.
ONE: Here: Myths. Frameworks. “Story.” Order. “Clarity.” Attempts to cope.
THREE: Here: We “play God.”
TWO and FOUR: Humans constantly killed by their own creations.
ALL: (not unison; any order, overlapping, repeated, added to) Money Ownership Trump Racism Guns Police Toxic Masculinity Fear Systemic Violence Lead in the water Global Warming
FOUR: In death, a seed.
TWO: In loss, a cycle.
THREE: A life is composed of much more than its events. A life is composed of many lives, many hundreds and thousands of interwoven lives.
ONE: And so I became a scientist. And so I once was a scientist.
SIX: And so I’m creating an Archive.
ONE: Recently I was reading this book that said “preparing to pass from this life to the next tends to start with a song,” An early morning song. It’s recommended that the song be repeated one hundred thousand times as a prerequisite to receiving the next instruction.
(The Archive shimmers)
THREE: A creature came out of this box and said,
FIVE: "I am Yesterday; I know Tomorrow."
TWO: It asked,
FIVE: “Do you really want to archive everything?”
FOUR: I said, “Yes.” It asked,
FIVE: “What makes you think you can?”
ONE: I said, “I don’t have much more time. What can I do but try?” It warned,
FIVE: “Be careful.”
THREE: I asked, “Why?” It warned,
FIVE: “Pay attention.”
FOUR: I asked, “To what?” It said,
FIVE: “You might think a life moves through time, but—“
ONE: “Oh, I know.”
THREE: It said,
FIVE: “You might think a life is singular, but—“
SIX: “I said I know.”
FIVE: “What do you remember?”
ONE: “This isn’t about memory.”
FIVE: “What do you need?”
ONE: Just one very small, tiny tiny seed—
Rachel Jendrzejewski is a writer who frequently collaborates with choreographers, musicians, and visual artists to explore new performative vocabularies. Her work has been published by Padua Playwrights, Spout Press, and Plays Inverse, among others. MFA Playwriting, Brown University.