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by Eric Andersen

The largest court room in the building was furnished with a big monitor and VHS player at the judge’s seat, a video crew at the prosecutor’s seat and Eric Andersen equipped with a toaster, hotplate, saucepan, smoked Scottish wild salmon, green asparagus, excellent bread, vintage Mersault wine and Pall Mall cigarettes at the defence counsel’s seat. In addition to this white china plates, silver cutlery, crystal wineglasses as well as white pepper and virgin salt from Læsø. The seat of the accused was empty.

The audience took their seats. The doors were closed, and Eric Andersen asked everybody to leave the room. When no one followed his instructions, he offered to bribe every single audience member to make them leave the courtroom. There were many offers: a fancy dinner, a nice glass of wine, a cigarette, a sequence from a pornographic movie or Danish peasant and manor folklore, a dance, an undressing or a dressing, a fictitious story, a secret, a childhood event, an open or closed window, opening or closing the curtains, turning the light on or off etc.

After two hours and countless bribes, the last member of the audience left the courtroom. Among the audience was the resident judge, who left as number seventeen after smoking a Pall Mall.

In the autumn later that year, PLEASE LEAVE was performed with a substantial amount of props at Emily Harvey Gallery on Broadway in New York. Like isolated islands in a sea of audience members, the three performers were equipped with a variety of audiovisual means. At the entrance everyone was given a number, in the style of marathon runners’ serial numbers. Thus the three performers were able to approach everyone individually during the process of the performance. By means of different forms of persuasion everyone was asked to leave the room.

The performance was successful after five hours. Everyone except for the first one to leave the room received a badge at the exit stating: I wasn’t the first person who left a performance by Eric Andersen.

I wasn't