Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


The Almost-Silent Performance

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 9:00 am

I just woke up from a dream. I went to a beautiful performance art show. It was amazing! The theater was VERY small and intimate. It sat less than fifty people. The show was QUIET. It was amazingly quiet. Just beautifully quiet. The theater was in the round, so there were no seats any better than others.

The first act started with a pool of water. The performers approached the water and put their feet into it. They made moises with the water that sounded like music. It was absolutely beautiful. It was kind of like STOMP but so silent and quiet that you would miss it if you weren’t paying attention. It was percussive and dance and all the lovely music came from the water.

The second act had a patch of grass in the middle of the theater. They walked on the grass in time to create music. It was so quiet and beautiful. I was amazed that they could get the theater so quiet. It was such a lovely sound of people walking on the grass in the exact time to make music. Even though the music was being created with such different “instruments” you could tell that they were playing the same song on the grass as they had in the water.

The third act involved one woman in the middle of the theater at a huge keyboard, not a musical keyboard, but a computer keyboard. She was typing and we could see what she was writing on the screen. The sound of her typing was a rhythmic tune, so she was creating this inspiring music again, but just with her fingers on a keyboard.

There were intermissions between the acts while they changed the theater. Outside the theater, there were arts and crafts for sale: lots of colored glass hanging from metal curlie-cues. It was the kind of art that makes subtle noises like bamboo windchimes. Somehow, I think all the arts and crafts had to do with the show. Because the theater was so small, they were making their money on the souvenirs instead of the seats.

After I woke up, I realized how difficult it would be to create this performance in real life. Each person allowed into the theater is a noisemaker and we don’t live in a society that rewards the quiet. You would need restrictions for people to even come into the theater: no cell phones, no pagers, no children under the age of 15, no talking, no one with any sort of sickness that would make them sniffle or cough. I think this sort of performance simply couldn’t work in today’s society without strict enforcement and bodyguards to evict people for even the slightest infraction.

The whole idea of this performance is that music is everywhere around us. It is in the drips of water that come off the house and the soft padded steps of the cat across the carpet and in my fingers as I type this entry. Even now, I can feel the music in my fingers as I type this and my clicking is suddenly beautiful instead of a noise that falls into the background. I can hear the hard drive in the computer spinning as a backdrop to my typing and the world is beautiful.

I want this performance art show to exist. There is so much noise in our lives that this almost silent performance was a life-changing experience for me, even if it was only in my mind…



  1. Laura, This is breathtakingly beautiful. I think someone should do it. I love how it spilled over into real life. My favorite part is seeing the beauty in typing and in computers. Not typical to think of them as music makers. You have transformed my view of these everyday actions. Thanks for sharing your dream. Janet

    Comment by Janet — 2/11/2007 @ 9:43 pm

  2. Laura, Your dream was forwarded to me by Janet. I loved it because I am one of those who feels very rewarded for being “quiet”. I have a business where I actually use the human body as that “keyboard” that you saw in your dream. The human body is a musical instrument. The vibrational tapping of my fingers in time to heavenly music, both solacing and stimulating, is very quiet but sends a ripple effect into the body at a cellular level. The person on the table listens to musical vibratons through headphones and feels them through the accoustical table. I loved your dream because it portrayed the beauty of the world which I am working to create in a physical world, called Scents of Peace—with the vibration of essential oils and music, people are escorted into a realm of “quietude” where their souls can rejoice in a world that is peaceful, serene, harmonious…and musical!

    Thank you for sharing this dream with me—-it’s the world in which I spend a good share of each day—inasmuch as it is humanly possible—!


    Comment by Karyn — 2/12/2007 @ 7:46 am

  3. Laura, Do I have permission to print thsi out and share this with my “JOY VIBRATIONS” class? The women would love it! It expresses so succinctly what I have been seeking to share with them. It is possible to create “realms of quiettude” in our lives! This proves that the subconscious mind is craving it!!!! Karyn

    Comment by Karyn — 2/12/2007 @ 7:50 am

  4. Wow, Laura, that was so beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    In my noisy neighborhood, I used to long for quiet (I think I’ve gotten used to the noise now.) I went to the mountains for a retreat and skipped the workshop just to sit out on the grass and listen to the sound of the wind through the trees. It felt so luxerious and so soul nurturing. I had grabbed an Utne reader to read and when I did look at it, it was all about sound and silence!

    Comment by B. — 2/12/2007 @ 11:53 am

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