Exit THE AZTEC (2010)

The stage is bare except for two xs on the floor made from coloured adhesive tape. There is a space of approximately three meters between them. On one x stands a male performer in nondescript attire: jeans, shirt, sweater. He begins.

Preliminary choreography for the magic trick:

1) The performer lifts each arm and tugging the cuff of his sweater demonstrates to the audience he has nothing up his sleeves.
2) In a workmanlike fashion he roles his sleeves. 
3) Holding up both hands in the attitude of surrender he rotates his wrists to show his hands back and front.

He stops abruptly and speaks. 

“Actually, I’m going to begin with this, by showing you something.”

He draws a folded piece of paper from a back pocket and unfolding it displays a poster bearing the stage direction ‘Smoke’.


The performance is a re-staging of a minor character in François Truffaut’s 1962 film Jules et Jim. Barely speaking, appearing on screen for less than a minute and mysteriously dubbed THE AZTEC in the director’s screenplay, he steps from the movie to become a site inhabited by a number of characters and voices and the nexus of various narrative threads. He presents a speculative tool to question the motions on and off a stage or on and off camera.


Performance transcript from Scriptings #12 edited by Achim Lengere (PDF)