The remnants of Ammi Pierce
Today I watched Darren Robert Smith channel Lovecraft outside a greenhouse in Schwedterstrasse. The tick, tick, ticking of the text (Guenther Primig) made me think of Hans.
Lovecraft, played by Smith, recalled The Remnants of Ammi Pierce (adapted by Primig from Lovecraft’s The Colour Out of Space, with sound design by Martin Spange and music by Irene Vannucci ) – a dreadful site barely glimpsed of a dismembered friend and horrible creatures from the mense – his hand shaking, his palid skin sweating beneath his beard. As the sun fell the tale darkened and still held us rapt.
Lovecraft denied his insanity, lost the plot, then recovered it looping in and out of the text. Augmented by audio queues, and twitters of processed echo, Lovecraft’s voices became ever more distinct, the terrible, terrible truth was that the thing in the well, the thing he could not bring himself to say the name of and referred to only as ‘the feeble light’, that this thing he had inhaled and now it spoke inside him.
I remembered an interview with Peter Falk in which he was asked his opinion of Brando’s use of an earpiece to receive his lines, Falk answered that rather than indicating laziness that to him it signified Brando’s conviction that to know what the character was to say ahead of time was false, that prior knowledge of the text undermined its integrity.
It spoke inside him and it distracted him from himself. Diverted his tongue mid- sentence and caused his hand to shake in a constant palsy. He yearned for lucidity and achieved it briefly only to have madness snatch it away again.
“It was then that I heard the story, and as the rambling voice scraped and whispered on I shivered again and again spite the summer day.” H.P Lovecraft. The Colour Out Of Space. 1927. Amazing Stories
For more about the exhibition Ectsatic Truth at Super Bien!, where this performance took place, see my reviewat Whitehot magazine
The complete text of the original can be found here:- http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/thecolouroutofspace.htm