Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Shell

The crowd moves down the stairs, following the line as it weaves in and out between the brightly pointed coral formations of the sea and the smooth dark rocks of the steep cliffside. Behind and above us, headlights can be seen pulling into the few open parking spots which line the highway, and beyond that, the stony incline becomes steeper, the foot of a mountain enormous enough to block out the rising sun. To the south, a river's mouth separates us from the plateau of a high class coastal town I found only recently, its chaotic streets a labyrinth of luxury. To the north, a bed of fog hides the highway that I know snakes through the cliffside for many miles, and the ever-growing range of mountains that protects the inland valleys from the wild sea.

And straight ahead, the path leads down to a flat walkway carved out of the reef itself, its multitude of branches all centering on the mammoth clamshell amphitheatre, half-submerged in the sea. When watching it, the waves seem to flyby in slow motion, crashing against the coral spires which shield the structure from a seemingly destined flood. The shell's giant lips part, with the bottom half forming the floor of the entryway and the top half a ridged awning. As our line slowly shuffles past the unmanned box office window and into the halls of the structure, we pass ornate organic pearl frames, posters of upcoming acts inside. And of tonight's headliner: Laurie Anderson.

The walls of the main chamber seem to pulse with life, though we of the audience all know this creature died a century ago, its soft innards petrified by the unique properties of the surrounding sea. We find our places among the perfectly chiseled, mirrorlike seats, waiting for the lights to finally dim. I wonder aloud if the night will feature material from Anderson's legendary "Moby Dick" project - a neighbor nods and confirms that the show's aquatic setting is more than coincidence. We are suddenly silenced by the parting of the red curtains, and as we stand to better see the show unfolding ahead of us, we find the scene around us has already started to fade, pushing us back towards waking life in an infuriating anticlimax.

No comments:

Post a Comment