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by Eric Andersen


The floor of the brightly lit Roskilde Hall is divided into two halves by a tennis net. On one side of the net there are gymnastics apparatuses and on the other side chairs are arranged in a square. The audience is seated along the side of the hall while a huge bright red curtain conceals a stage on the opposite side of the floor. As the stage curtains open Eric Andersen appears sitting at a table surrounded by sound equipment, books and a photocopier. Two small staircases lead from the gym floor to the stage.

He announces that the performance will start with some music; however it is up to the audience to decide what kind of music they would like to hear. Eric Andersen reads aloud the names on all his cassette tapes; Eric Satie, Talking Heads, Anne Linnet, Mozart, Johan Sebastian Bach, Fritz Helmut etc., and by a show of hands the audience decides that they would like to hear Satie.

Eric Andersen now asks the audience to come to the stage one at a time. The first person who enters the stage is asked to sit down opposite Eric Andersen. They have a conversation inaudible to anyone else, and Eric Andersen photocopies a page from a book for him or her to memorize. The person then leaves the stage by the staircase opposite to the one from which he/she entered. Andersen repeats the process with all members of the audience until there is no one left.

While this is going on, two men are busy working on the quadrangle of chairs on the gym floor, continuously adding or removing chairs according to the size of the audience in the gym. Eventually, Eric Andersen asks people to take a seat in the quadrangle. Now people have to tell their stories to each other or retell each others’ stories, so that the stories will travel from person to person and around the square.

Read Eric Andersen’s account of the performance, A performance of unpredictable duration