redmoon theater halloween parade
october 1999

stage one : shock
the soul floats away - a masked woman stands on a tall ladder, and feathers fall from her hands. we walk along a wooden train track, over white sheets. beneath the sheets are hearts that break as people walk along the track. a giant white bird-man on stilts silently hovers, his face lit from within.

stage two : denial/wind
there is a tall platform, surrounded by dead tree branches. a disheveled, slouching woman stares blankly at glowing television. there are ghosts everywhere, but she does not see or hear them. some play music, others rattle the branches, stomp and smash things. she remains motionless.

at this stage i trade mike's name for a whispery fall leaf. it is remarkably complicated in its construction... but it has grown brittle and faded - a ghost itself.

i find it difficult to hold the leaf without crushing it...
i know it is there, though it weighs almost nothing.

stage three : anger/fire.
a plume of smoke rises in the air. there is a clearing - kettles sit upon makeshift fire pits. attendants feed with small twigs and kindling - transfixed by the fires. as the kettles heat, they begin to steam and whistle. the attendants wail and scream with them, feeding the fires. red angels keep watch over the circle.

stage four : grief/water.
water fills the street and sprinklers catch the light of fires all around. street sweepers moan and cry as they struggle to keep up with the water, pushing wide brooms at a flow that can not be stopped. some of them pause and sobb to themselves, others weep into soggy handkerchiefs. one woman falls to the ground and beats it with her bare fists, wailing.

wash-women beat drums, their faces frozen in sorrow.

stage five : acceptance/earth
it is dark. half-buried people focus on different tasks.

a woman polishes a silver pitcher. a man plays the cello. a sun rises and sets.

parade end: spectacle
skeletons play drums, dance and wave their arms, fires burn everywhere. the crowd gathers around in a huge circle as attendants in white wheel out the dead on rickety stretchers and begin burying them with earth from metal buckets.

as the music builds to a crescendo, the players invite the audience to participate in the burial. people step from the crowd, at first tentatively, then en masse, to turn in their objects and throw earth onto the dead.

i bury

the leaf

mike - rest in peace.