#28PlaysLater 2019: Day Sixteen | White Bread

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Performers.

Seagull

Pigeon

Man in suit

Unicorns

 

Note. The following performance takes place in an art gallery.

 

Scene.

A brick wall.

A massive pile of rotting sliced white bread.

A seagull walks in.

It looks at the audience.

It looks at the white bread.

It tilts its head as if considering the pile before it.

A pigeon walks in. It regards the seagull.

The pigeon coughs.

The seagull straightens its head and looks at the pigeon over the pile of bread.

 

Pigeon: See anything you like?

Seagull: What is it?

Pigeon: Art.

Seagull: Oh. Art.

Pigeon: You don’t think it’s art?

Seagull: What does it do?

Pigeon: Nothing. It’s art.

Seagull: Yeah. Right.

Pigeon: Art is useless.

Seagull: I see.

 

Pause.

 

Seagull: But this is bread.

Pigeon: That’s the medium of the artist’s choice, yes.

Seagull: And bread isn’t useless.

Pigeon: But is it really?

Seagull: No. It isn’t. Cos it makes sandwiches.

Pigeon: Sandwiches are useless.

Seagull: No, they aren’. They are food.

Pigeon: Not if you are gluten intolerant.

Seagull: But still food. I’ll prove it.

 

The seagull walks up to the bread, picks up a loaf and starts stuffing it in her face.

 

Seagull: See.

 

The pigeon’s jaw drops.

 

Pigeon: You can’t do that!

Seagull: Why?

Pigeon: It’s art.

Seagull: It’ll go stale if you don’t eat it.

Pigeon: Art doesn’t go stale.

Seagull: This art will.

Pigeon: Oh. My. God. Will you stop eating it.

Seagull: Sorry.

 

The seagull throws a couple of slices back on the pile of bread.

 

Pigeon: Jesus. You’re ruined it. The composition.

Seagull: How can you even tell.

Pigeon: Because I have The Eye.

Seagull: You lose the other one in a fight.

Pigeon: I both eyes are The Eye.

Seagull: So you think this is art.

Pigeon: Don’t you?

Seagull: I think it’s bread.

Pigeon: It’s a metaphor.

Seagull: For bread?

Pigeon: No, for the struggle of the urbanite feathered classes.

Seagull: You what?

Pigeon: You wouldn’t understand.

Seagull: So only you can understand?

Pigeon: Art isn’t for everyone.

Seagull: But bread is.

Pigeon: You’re being willfully obtuse.

Seagull: Who you calling fat?

Pigeon: I. No one. It’s just not for you.

Seagull: I’m a seagull. All bread is for me.

Pigeon: No. It’s just clearly not the kind of art that you like.

Seagull: But I love bread.

Pigeon: For the thousandth time. It’s not bread.

Seagull: How much did you pay for it?

Pigeon: Sorry?

Seagull: How much?

 

Pause.

 

Pigeon: 2.2.

Seagull: Pounds?

Pigeon: Million.

Seagull: 2.2 mill for a pile of bread?

Pigeon: It was in the public interest.

Seagull: Only if you wanted to make a lot of toast.

 

Pause.

 

Seagull: Anyway, who says this is art?

Pigeon: Sorry?

Seagull: Who said this was art?

Pigeon: I don’t know what you mean.

Seagull: Someone at some point must have said “this is art.”

Pigeon: Why?

Seagull: Because otherwise it’s a pile of bread.

Pigeon: Or is it?

Seagull: Yes. Yes. It’s a massive fuck off pile of bread.

Pigeon: The artist said it was art.

Seagull: Who was the artist.

Pigeon: Ian.

Seagull: Ian?

Pigeon: Yes. Ian.

Seagull: Just Ian.

Pigeon: He’s very mysterious.

Seagull: Ian is mysterious?

Pigeon: Yes. Ian is the next big thing.

Seagull: So he’s a man?

Pigeon: Well, yes. Of course Ian is a man.

Seagull: A white man?

Pigeon: Yes, a white man. He was wearing very nice glasses. Good hinges.

Seagull: And how do you know he’s the next big thing?

Pigeon: What?

Seagull: How do you know?

 

Beat..

 

Pigeon: He told me.

Seagull: He told you?

Pigeon: And he went to the University of Arts.

Seagull: I went there once. Had a mister whippy with a flake.

Pigeon: Are you an artist? You would increase the diversity of our portfolio.

Seagull: If I said yes, would you buy a half eaten bag of chips?

Pigeon: Now you are just being rude.

Seagull: Rude? Really? You told me that I can’t get this because you seem to think I’m not good enough. You spent public money on a piece of art that will be mouldy by the weekend from some white man who walked in off the street and told you he was the dog’s bollocks.

Pigeon: Those are actually hanging in the next space through that door-

Seagull: Who are you buying art for?

Pigeon: What?

Seagull: Who are you buying art for?

Pigeon: Well. The nation.

Seagull: And have you asked the nation if the want to buy a massive fucking pile of white bread?

Pigeon: Well of course the nation wouldn’t want to. That’s why there are people like me.

Seagull: Right. So you are the only one who gets to say what are is.

Pigeon: Yes.

Seagull: Right.

 

The seagull walks up the pile of bread and shits all over it. The seagull walks back down the pile.

 

Seagull: Ta da!

Pigeon: What the hell have you done?

Seagull: Criticism.

 

The seagulls walks off.

The pigeon falls to his knees, head in his hands.

An man in a suit enters. Stands in front of the pile of bread.

He has a confetti cannon.

 

Man in suit: Art for all.

 

He releases the cannon.

It ejects vasts amounts of money into the gallery and onto the audience.

 

Unicorns enter. They all carry loaves of sliced white bread. – the last slice of each has Ian’s signature and an edition number. They offer it to the audience in exchange for the cash in their hand.

 

Man in suit: Just imagine how this would look in your home? We’ve commissioned some limited edition pieces for you to take home with you today. Each complete with the artists signature and an edition number. Take a slice of history home with you. Great investment – you could say, a fantastic way to earn a crust. It’s been my bread and butter for years. Yours for a mere 200,000.

 

While the Man in suit talks, the seagull enters in a pink balaclava, carrying a flame thrower. The seagull walks to the stack of bread and proceeds to turn the flame onto it.

 

Seagull: Toasta la vista!

 

The seagull stops when the bread is on the burned side of toasted.

 

The seagulls pulls out a pot of paint from behind the wall and scrawls the words “ART IS BROWN BREAD”.

The Man in suit and the pigeon watch what the seagull is doing.

The seagull steps back to admire the dripping paint.

 

Man in suit: Bravo.

Pigeon: Are you the artist?

Seagull: Yeah, I’m the next big thing.

Pigeon: Excellent. Performance art with a political edge is very zeitgeist.

Seagull: That some kind of ghost?

Man in suit: So witty. Why don’t you come into my office, so we can talk money.

 

The Man in suit leads the Seagull out of the space. The pigeon follows, ruffling his feathers in excitement.

 

The Unicorns wheel in an industrial wheelie bin. They unceremoniously throw away the massive toast of toast into it using shovels.

Two other Unicorns wheel the brick wall with the graffiti into the next room.  Another Unicorn shepherd the audience after it.

 

In the next room are lots of brick walls all with ‘amusing’ graffiti slogans on them. All the walls also have price tags on them, each with a massive amount of money on them. A unicorn hands catalogues of the work to the audience. These have dates, names of the work and explanation of what the work means. None of it seems remotely connected to anything that can actually be seen. The audience are encouraged to go round and look at the brick walls.

 

While they do, the sounds of seagulls starts, very quietly, but gradually gets louder and louder, building to an ear splitting crescendo. It sounds like laughing.

Blackout.

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