see how fast they run

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see how fast they run

anna mazzariello


See How Fast They Run

"They" can be the words on the page or Eliza and her son..."Run, Eliza, run! Run, Eliza, run!" (The King and I). The slow and careful movements of the dancer portraying Eliza in The King and I do not appropriately mimic the panic that Eliza must have been feeling. Rather than expressing Eliza's shear terror through leaping, bounding, and jogging, the dancer gives us a controlled, paced, depiction of a crafty, lucky escape. Often, the dancer-Eliza would freeze on one leg while other dancers swarmed around her, or climbed on others' backs to simulate climbing a mountain. In order for a dance such as this to be possible, the dancer herself needs to be physically conditioned so that her muscles are completely in her control. This portrayal is almost counter-intuitive because in such a situation, one would be anything but in complete control; fleeing for her life, Eliza is probably not remaining calm, cool, and collected as is the dancer-Eliza.

What the control in the dancer's movements does parallel, however, is the control one must have over one's concentration while reading Uncle Tom's Cabin; we therefore see that this muscular dancing is closer to the reading tempo of the book as opposed to the running tempo of the actual events within the book. Both the dance and the text act as a metronome to slow down Eliza's harsh reality. What I now attempt is to create a language that follows her emotional, mental, and physical state a tempo. The words come almost as percussion; as if whispered and played on a drum.
HEART: Bump. Bum-bump. Bum-bump-bump. Bum-bump; bum-bump. Bum-bump-bump. Bump.
THROAT: Gulp.
HEART: Bump. Bum-bump; bum-dada-bump. Bum-bump; bum-bump. Bum-dada-bump; bum-bump.
FEET: Pitter-patter; pitter-patter. Pitter-pitter; patter-patter; swish-swish. Pitter-swish; patter-swoosh; pitter-patter-swish-swish; pitter-patter-swoosh. Swoosh. Swoosh. Swish-swish-swish.
HEART: Bum-bum-bump.
MIND: Must run, must...run! My feet must stay fast...fast...fast...faster...give more...which way?! This...no...here? I don't think...
NARRATOR: But that's just it, she can't think!
THROAT: *muffled cough*. Gulp.
MIND: ...I can't seem to find...shh-shh-shh! No, no, no, stay quiet, stay asleep. Stay just as you are in my arms, light as a feather, soft as velvet, dark as the shadows that hide us...behind a tree, up a tree anything to stay out of the dogs' noses!
FEET: Patter-patter-patter. Step. Step. Step. Swoosh-swoosh-swoosh-swoosh...Swoo-swoo...
MIND: SHHHHHHhhh! Don't make so much noise!
NARRATOR: The air is too thick to breathe; the atmosphere is swallowing her up, right up with the sounds of her heart beating out of her chest. Everything is getting swallowed up...
MIND: Down, calm down...in and out deep breaths, deep breaths...think! Try to think!
NARRATOR: But the breaths are shallow and her head spins because it cannot breathe.
MIND: Stay calm, must...must...stay...here? Oh no, no, no, no, no...dogs!? No...no, no...
FEET: Thump! Tinker-tinker-tot. slip-slip-slip.
MIND: Stay on your own two feet!
HEART: thahh-da-thahh-da...
FEET: Slip-slip. Sliiiiide.
MIND: Whoops!
FEET: Zip-zip-zip-zak-tinker-tot-tinker-tinker...
MIND: Weeee!
FEET: sweesh-sweesh-sweeeesh! Slip-slap-slop.
NARRATOR: Crack?
MIND: Nooo...
HEART: thahh-da-thahh-da-thump-thump-thump
MIND: Ready...set...jump!
FEET: Bump!
HEART: Thump, thump, thump. Thu-thump...thu-thump...thu-thump...
MIND: Oh you're getting heavy, you know that?! How am I supposed to carry you all this way. My feet must stay fast but my arms must stay strong. Hold onto me help your mother: lie quiet, stay still, hold tight, breath often...please keep breathing...me too, I'll keep on if you do...
NARRATOR: If not, all would be for naught, no?...
MIND: if you don't, I'm through!
NARRATOR: The faster her feet move, the faster her heart beats, and the faster she breathes.
THROAT: *gasp*... gulp...*gasp*...*gasp*
HEART: Thuhh-thuhh-thuhh-thump. Thah-da-bump; thah-da-thump. Thum-pah-da-thump-thump; thump-thump-thump...
THROAT: Gulp
HEART: Bump-dada-bump-bump. Thuhh-thuhh-thump; dada-bump.
FEET: Step.
HEART: Bah-da-bump.
FEET: Swishhh...
HEART: Thuhh-da-dump. Bump-bump.
FEET: Step.
HEART: Daa-da-bump...
THROAT: Gulp *cough* gulp
FEET: Step.
THROAT: *Cough* gulp *cough*
HEART: Diddy-diddy-dahh-dahh. Bump. Bump. Bump. Bum-bump; bum-dada-bump.
FEET: Step.
HEART: Daaa-bump
FEET: Step.
THROAT: Gulp
HEART: Bum-bump.
FEET: Step. Step.
HEART: Daaa-bump
FEET: Step.
THROAT: Gulp
HEART: Bum-bump.
FEET: Step.
HEART: Daaa-bump
FEET: Step.
THROAT: Gulp
HEART: Bum-bump.
FEET: Step.
HEART: Daaa-bump
FEET: Step.
THROAT: Gulp
HEART: Bum-bump.
THROAT: *gasp*... gulp...*gasp*...*gasp*
HEART: Thuhh-thuhh-thuhh-thump. Thah-da-bump; thah-da-thump. Thum-pah-thump-thump; thump-thump-thump...
THROAT: Gulp
HEART: Bump-dada-bump-bump. Thuhh-thuhh-thump; dada-bump-dada-bump. Thuhh-thuhh-thump.
MIND: Down, calm down...in and out deep breaths, deep breaths...think! Try to think!
FEET: Patter-patter-patter. Step. Step. Step. Swoosh-swoosh-swoosh-swoosh...
THROAT: *gasp*
NARRATOR: But the breaths are shallow.
THROAT: *gasp*
NARRATOR: But the breaths are shallow.
THROAT: *gasp*
HEART: Daa-da-bump...
FEET: Patter-patter-patter. Pitter-patter-pitter. Patter-pitter-pitter-swoosh. Swish-swish-patter. Swoosh-swoosh-swoosh-swoosh...
THROAT: *gasp*
FEET: Step. Step. Step. Step-step-step. Step...step...
MIND: Sloooowwww down...caaaaalm downnn.
FEET: Step. Step.
HEART: Thahh-da-thump; thahh-da-thump...
FEET: Step; step-step.
THROAT: *gulp*
MIND: Imagine I'm going the wrong way! What could I do then!?
FEET: Step.


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