Sampling of The Arrow Cleans House → Essay, Play, Essay

A primary function of our show, The Arrow, is to mash up existing texts in surprising ways. One way that is done in performance is by the ensemble “triggering” plays in the middle of an essay reading.

Below is a sampling of two pieces from The Arrow Cleans House — the middle of Lily Mooney’s essay The Private Public, interrupted by Lucas Baisch’s play Piss Race, and returning to Lily’s essay. This sampling will give you an idea of how text is interwoven in The Arrow, as the writer/performers constantly attack and disrupt each other’s writing, in order to reveal a spontaneous moment, or serendipitous result. Some context for these samples — Lily recounts a critical analysis of the definition of the word “idiot” that she has with some friends, and thinks about offering her own opinion. If you come to the show, you might see a similar splicing of the texts, or something completely different. ~ Kurt Chiang, director

Lily, reading from her essay: “I wanted to speak up and tell them all a thing I had read when I googled the word ‘idiot’ which is that the deepest history of the word has to do with not with stupidity but with selfishness, or more specifically, privacy. The ancient root of the word means ‘private,’ or ‘to oneself,’ or ‘of one’s own.’ It was a way of referring to the folks under Athenian democracy who either could not or would not participate in public life. It may have been derogatory or oppressive then, too, but that would have been an oppression not of a disability but of the choice to opt out, to be private, to, instead of publicly becoming, to just be. I was going to say this, because I thought it was interesting, how much words change, how meaning decays and accrues, how hidden under layers of ugly hate there could be something, something else, something just as necessary as doing ‘right,’ or being ‘good,’ but instead I decided to keep it to myself. As I said I have questions about my citizenship, but I think there is a good chance that I am an idiot of some kind. I’m only realizing it now, which might make it double true.

the play PISS RACE begins

A plastic-lined New Balance shoe on one stool. A potted ficus, symmetrical to the stool. The song “Kero Kero Bonito” by Kero Kero Bonito starts to play. Enter LUCAS with an empty spray bottle in his hand. LUCAS sets down the spray bottle, takes the shoe, and begins to pee into it.

LUCAS. Did you know, biologically born men have the option to stand when they pee, yet I most often choose to sit because I’m afraid of missing the toilet bowl, missing the point, missing the place of contact in which my bladder juice is supposed to occupy a container?

Enter NEIL with a spray bottle and sunglasses. He sprays the plant on beat with the song.

LUCAS. Did you know PEEING in a PUBLIC place is a CRIMINAL OFFENSE? It’s considered an act of indecent exposure or public lewdness and can lead to the requirement to register as a sex offender. In certain states it can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or six months of jail time. It’s funny to me how a public action can be seen as filthy or offensive, but when performed privately it’s just a natural part of being human.

Enter MEGHANN, LILY, and HAL with spray bottles and sunglasses. They join NEIL in spraying ficus-baby to the beat.

LUCAS. My bladder is the size of an ocean, I think, cushioned under my continental digestive organs and around my polar ice cap piss-ducts. My dick is a hydrothermal siphon in the earth’s crust and the floodgate forces behind my pelvic muscles are tectonic plates shifting. If my body is the Earth, and the Earth is our collective body, I wonder when nations’ leaders are going to make stricter legislation that’s more concerned with the decay of our ecosystems then me taking a drunken leak on a brick wall. It’s a shared responsibility, I think.

By now LUCAS should have peed enough into the shoe, so that he can pour it into his own spray bottle. He approaches the plant. The music stops.

The sound of ocean waves crashing.

He aims his spray bottle.

They take off their sunglasses.

Lights fade.

Lily, reading from her essay: In Boston where I grew up there are two public parks at the center of the city called the Public Garden and the Boston Common. I don’t just mean public like they’re outside, or that they don’t have locked gates. I mean they’re public because they’re not the Bank of America Public Garden and the Ivanka Trump Boston Common. They’re not that. One is just Public, and one is just Boston. They are actual public land — the Common is the oldest city park in the United States. Honestly I’m shocked that they’ve survived when every other spot you can find to stand tells you that you’re trespassing or that if you want to stay you have to watch at least five seconds of an ad. Not to say that their publicness makes them somehow unequivocally good; the earliest history of the Commons is that it was a cow pasture, but the affluent early Bostonians that lived across the street on Beacon Hill bought themselves too many cows, overgrazed the hills, and ruined the land. Shortly after that it was used on a regular basis for public hangings. I went to high school downtown about ten minutes away from these parks and I have strolled their paths and lain in their grass and crunched across their snow and looked at their trees and sat and stood and walked and marched and run through them and I should say that it was in that space, and in spaces like that, where I have been able to give meaning to the city, to be a citizen, to imagine something big and myself as a living part. If I have imagined a community at all in my life — I’m sure it happened for at least a few minutes in both of these parks, ironically when I was still a child, under 18, unable to vote or buy alcohol or own land.

The Arrow Cleans House

Every Sunday in February, (2/19 & 2/26) at 3pm

The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland