Thursday, 17 September 2009

understudy goldfish

Your understudy

Today your understudy will be playing you.
Do not be alarmed.
Your understudy will attempt to replicate your physical appearance
but please be patient.
Despite the best endeavours of the costume and make-up departments
your understudy may not quite achieve perfect physical verisimilitude
but, as time and budget will allow,
your understudy will aim
to give a reasonable number of people a reasonable impression of you.

Your understudy may make mistakes - please be patient.
S/he may not quite get your manner of greeting
the way you swing your bag as you walk
the way your hair curls gently on your shoulders
the way you sometimes snap or flirt
shade your eyes from the sun
or scrunch your face when you don't know something.
Your understudy has strict instructions
not to try to impersonate you but
to try to find your essence
not to wander off-script
not to compromise you with friends, lovers, family
by going in directions you would never explore.
Those that know you well may notice
some slight errors in your understudy's performance
(in the timbre of voice, in the delicacy of movement)
but please ask them to be polite.

And would it actually be so terrible
if your understudy stepped slightly
out of your careful little life
out of your tight routines, patterns, scenarios?
We've watched you exiting your house at 7:27 each morning for example
for precisely the same journey to work/school
sitting next to the same shy boy who smiles
but to whom you never say hello.
Say you are a B+ student and your understudy is an A?
Say you are a virgin and your understudy is
shall we say, a little more friendly in that department?
Would it be so terrible?

Let's face it
we've given you a perfectly good life
and maybe you're not using it properly
maybe you don't deserve this perfectly good life we've given you.
Maybe your understudy will be better than you at being you?
Do not be alarmed.
Today your understudy will be playing you.


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