Beaver & Bear
text by Meri Ekola and Tua Helve
performed by Alice Ferl and Stine Hertel, narrator Marty Berowski
The Trust Play
text by Timo Fredriksson, Stine Hertel, Annika Tudeer, Yiran Zhao, edited by the Team
Yiran, fragile, in an ethereal costume
Stine, quite determined, bicycling
Timo, like Sponge Bob but rounder
Annika, almost as herself but in a crow suit
On Trust, Tiger and Turtle
text by Anna-Maija Terävä
performed by Timo Fredriksson and Anna-Maija Terävä, narrator Annika Tudeer
A Band Called Trust
text by Alice Ferl
song and lyrics by Alice Ferl, sound design by Yiran Zhao
PROLOGUE: Beaver & Bear
To begin with, listen Beaver and Bear musing on trust. You can find the dialogue written below.
It was a morning, like every morning. Beaver and Bear were meeting on a little hill, where they met every day to watch the sun come up behind the line of rustling birch trees.
[B = Bear, b = Beaver]
B: Timo once said that not every performance is a great success for everyone – sometimes you realize your own part is a bit more average than those of the others, yet in the big picture, this is still fine.
b: Having trust makes it all easier.
B: Instead of starting to fear for failure you keep on going and believe in what you do.
b: When you have trust you don’t need to be all the time analysing and re-evaluating, taking a position or making a decision. Having trust is a harmonious state where you can float.
B: To me, this note indicates love, appreciation and openness as the key components of trust, and trust as a driving force in the whole making of performances.
b: How comfortable it is to close your eyes and let the trust carry you.
ACT: THE TRUST PLAY
While reading the Trust Play Act, envision an empty stage and let the characters and their actions become alive and visible for you.
Stine rides her fancy professional narrow-tyred bicycle in a steady, meditative manner on the stage. The light is dim, but we can see she’s slightly sweaty, not exhausted. She goes past a 1920s style palm tree and the sofa. With a light change, enters Yiran from the right:
Yiran: When we trust in something, we externalize a part of ourselves onto them.
Stine (continues pedalling the bike): Trust in dissent. (pauses) The last days, I have been thinking about the power of dissent in collectivity. I am thinking about this collectively with my dear colleagues Alice and Jones. So, two thirds of my thoughts might as well be theirs, or all of them might be contradictory to what my colleagues think. I’ll ask them before this gets published.
Yiran (to herself, as if trying to learn the lines by heart): The psychic distance that we place between ourselves and the unknown — the distance between subject and object — falls away, and the one in whom we place our trust becomes another part of ourselves, although we don’t have access to it.
Stine (continues pedalling the bike): Sometimes, I decide to go with someone else’s idea, or someone goes with mine, without understanding, checking its legitimation, calculating its artistic value or conceptual smartness. I just follow and invest ridiculous amounts of energy out of trust.
Light spot to Timo sitting in an old and dusty armchair upstage left, observing the others (or could be another object, too – something that has a bit of height and volume)
Timo (like a nature documentary voice over): Trust never sleeps and that is making it very tired sometimes.
Stine (seems to neglect Timo’s commentary, continues pedalling): And by trust, I mean the foggy impression that the unknown might be more interesting than what I can come up with in a planful manner. (Stine still speaking, Annika enters from the left front stage)
Annika (with Annika-like, grandiose moves and a clear, reassuring voice): Trust, best friend. Comforting, making life easy. I do not have to think about you, because you are there, always.
Yiran (continues her monologue facing the audience): As between people, in a larger society when trust exists not only among its members, but between members and also the nerves and sinews of a society — the machinery, computers, infrastructure — then the whole becomes an extension of ourselves.
Stine (stops her bike next to Yiran, talks to her, Yiran still looking at the audience): Having time to develop ideas by myself can be fun, but I am just not that interested in keeping the control over the whole thing. One of the biggest perks of working in a group is that I slide out of my patterns of thought and watch my ideas and plans getting reformed and deformed.
Timo (standing up from the comfortable armchair, with a hint of alarm in his voice): No, don´t give Pervitin to Trust! (starts tap dancing and moves towards center stage. Very animated, like Mickey Rooney): Instead take your Ukulele, go under Trust´s window and sing a song!
Annika (looks at Timo): Kids trust: it will be alright. Oh yes, it will, be, everything will be alright. It will, trust me.
Stine (points towards Annika, continues convincingly, with inspiration, to Yiran): That means, I look for, or trust in, the uncontrolled process of collective thinking as a part of my own artistic identity. I aim for what crushes my agenda.
Annika (meets Timo somewhere in the middle of the stage, comfortingly): Did we ever miss a premier? (fully trusting herself) I trust we never did.
Stine (walks with her bike to Annika and Timo, states thoughtfully): The state of dissent seems to me a very trustworthy mode of being a group. (Mounts back to her bike, starts pedalling again. Timo stops tap dancing)
Yiran (still on the same spot frontstage, tries to address her words to Stine who just misses this attempt while biking): As the machines implicitly trust the rules and weighted value-systems of their programming, so do humans in a trust-based system – trust in the norms and conventions of the society in which they live.
Annika (walks to Yiran. Accompanies her lines with a tiny dance): Sometimes I waver. Then the earth shakes, misery follows me like a rain cloud. Kra, kra blows the wind away the mistrust. Mistrust, mise en scene, missed trust, what a misery. Blow blow away. The wind blows. Kra, kra away.
Yiran (to Annika): Real trust in a society extends the self into an aggregate, acting as one mind – even though its various parts might have different perspectives or opinions – in a much more complex whole. (Annika and Yiran perform a Trust dance, Timo climbs on the armchair, or whatever object we decide this to be)
Annika (fluctuating with the Trust dance, again with a clear, strong voice, eventually enhancing the rhythm and strength of her words by moving across the stage, but not in a dancy manner anymore): Trusting you and everyone. Blueyedness, naive, innocent? Not at all. Savvy like hell. You know. Life is so much easier, when you trust. Kra, kra. It is an energy saving device. This trust. That we like. Really a lot. Trust that.
Timo (standing on the armchair, or whatever object we decide this to be, feet apart, arms across his chest. With the voice and speaking manner of 189 years old Sitting Bull): When Trust comes to the window it will see that Spring is here. That’s good.
Yiran (to the audience, with a heightened confidence in her voice): Our tendency to build our trust over time — with our familiarity in something new we adapt to it — our aggregate self evolves towards greater coherence — not necessarily conformity — as we collectively adapt to our evolving circumstances. (Exits.)
Annika (One final move across the stage, with spectacular presence): Baby – new streetcars will always come. Trust, new opportunities, new chances. They will come. The stars say so and you are great, wonderful. Trust me. (Exits: Stine continues pedalling her bike around the stage. Timo, although a sponge but rounder, makes crow moves sitting on top of the armchair. Light goes out.)
EPILOGUE 1: On Trust, Tiger and Turtle
Next, hear what Tiger and Turtle come up with, when they finally start to talk to each other. You can find the dialogue written below.
It was evening and the sun was already going down. The evening waves were hitting the shore as they finally started to talk to each other.
Tiger: Listen, Turtle… I have been wondering about one thing. All the other animals are always monitoring me, except you. You know, I am the dangerous Tiger, why aren’t you afraid of me?
Turtle: Well, I trust you.
Tiger: You trust me? Do you mean you think I wouldn’t hurt you? Because you have that beautiful shield and everything? Do you think there is no risk of me hurting you?
Turtle: Not really. You know, I don’t think that trust is about analyzing the risks. It just never even occurred to me that you would try to hurt me. Like I said, I.. trusted you.
Tiger: Wow. If you never even thought I would try to hurt you, it must mean you really trusted me, for real. You were not even cautious.
Tiger: Interesting.. You didn’t worry too much, which is of course good, but it also made you an easy target, vulnerable, right?
Turtle: Well yes. By trusting you I let you be yourself and free. I didn’t try to monitor you all the time because I simply trusted you.
Tiger: Hmm.. Can you tell me a little more about trust? What do you think it is?
Turtle: I think trust is a crossroad where freedom and justice meet.
Tiger: What do you mean? Why is it about freedom?
Turtle: Well, when we trust each other, we give each other leeway. If I trust you, you will be able to do something you haven’t been able before, like come close to me. When I trust you, I give you power instead of trying to control you. You see, trust and control, they contradict each other.
Tiger: So to be trusted means to be set free?
Turtle: Yes. But trust is really a joint freedom between two creatures. It only works if we both believe we want to be good to each other. I trusted you and gave you the power to move freely around me, instead of monitoring you. I thought you would use your freedom for good things, something else than… hurting me.
Tiger: Wow. By trusting me you set me free! Amazing! What about justice? Why is trust also about justice?
Turtle: Do you trust me?
Tiger: Yes Turtle, I do. Do you believe me?
Turtle: I believe you. But what if I would not believe you because of your stripes? And I would believe Panther because he has dots instead of stripes? Would you think it would be fair to believe him but not you for this reason?
Tiger: Well that wouldn’t be fair at all!
Turtle: The stripes are part of you, Tiger, and they are beautiful. But they are not a reason to trust or distrust you. I would wrong you if I would not trust you because you are striped.
Tiger: That makes sense. But why is it important to trust for the right reasons?
Turtle: (huokaus) This is actually a question I needed a long time for to find an answer. Almost 100 years to be honest.
Tiger: Gosh you’re old!
Turtle: I prefer to be called matured instead of old.. Anyway, if I would tell you I trust you because I monitored you for a long time and finally learned to know when you are hunting and when not – would you call that trust?
Tiger: Hmm.. I guess I would say that you became good at reading me and my tigery behavior.
Turtle: Right. But .. I wouldn’t call that trust. Would you?
Tiger: I guess not. It seems more like a good prediction, which you may have good reasons. But it’s not trust.
Turtle: Yes.. I think trust requires something else than monitoring and predicting.
Tiger: I think I know what you mean, Turtle. Trust requires a relation, our relation, me and my will not to hurt you.
Turtle: Yes. And my reason to trust you must tell something about how we relate to each other.
Tiger: Yes.. I’m so happy I came to talk to you tonight.
Turtle: Good night Tiger, it was nice to talk to you. See you later!
Tiger: Good night Turtle, sleep well.
EPILOGUE 2: A Band called Trust
Why don’t you spice up the next part by putting on your favourite band on the background while reading?
“One is playing bass. He looks like you would imagine a bass player to look. He is the steady one, not making much of a fuss, carrying it all. Along with the drummer, tough she has more of an attitude. She wants to mix it up a bit, make it more complex, more contemporary, you know? Not any old pattern. Then there is the singer. She is working on the front line, connecting it all. There are these moments when she is coming up with something she wrote yesterday late at night. And then, our guitar: skillful, defined, experienced. Spicing things up like a really good chef. They`re the band. I trust them. Sometimes, we have these magic moments that we know we can never recreate. But we know we might come up with something that is almost half as good. It will do. Sometimes we just have a good laugh and finish without anything of value. It is very hard to decide what is crap and what is gold. Maybe we make wrong decisions all the time. Sometimes we talk about what is going on in our lives, sometimes we just play. We are turning grey, maybe a little heavy around the middle. We are late for rehearsal because the kids, you know? We play. We are turning bald, the flesh of our friendly faces is hanging there happily under our chins. We have to make more pee breaks, we can not hold it for very long any more. We play. Wow! An invitation to the local music festival! We play. A fake knee here and there. We play. Someone borrowing a cigarette from someone. We play. Let´s try out something new! We play. We cannot read the sheets anymore, so more improvising. We play. We are all in wheelchairs. We play. We cannot remember what we talked about five minutes ago. We play. We need colostomy bags. We play. We need other peoples livers, kidneys. We play. The machines are being turned off. We play. We are in coffins. We play. Flowers are growing on top of us. We play. We are soil. We play. Good Night. We play. Thank you all for coming. We play. It was a pleasure. We play. You were an amazing audience.”
EPILOGUE 3: Trust Song
Finally, just listen and let the Trust Song take you, where it takes you…