I performed this in the basement of Artists Television Access on October 25th, 1987. The photo above is from the performance. It's just a papier-mache head with two faces. I had a clip lamp as my only illumination. I'd read a part, click the lamp off, turn the head 180 degrees, click lamp on, read & repeat. Audience was totally flipped out by simple effect, came up with very ingenious & complicated theories as to how I switched characters: with pulleys, etc.
BALLOONHEADPerformer sits wearing a papier-maché Old Man mask over his head, and large white gauze bandage wrapped around his left forearm. He speaks.
One summer the boy’s father was home for a whole month. He drove his red car to the woods one day and shot a deer. He hung it from the central bean of the garage and slit it open. The dogs got in and he had to beat them off the carcass with a shovel. The cement floor was very slippery, there was deer blood and dog blood and some human blood.After the Old Man finishes speaking, the lights go out for about five seconds. While the lights are out, the performer reaches up and turns the mask horizontally 180° so that he now wears the face of a Young Man.
We went out to the car like we were going someplace but there was no place to go. I put my hand through the window and unlocked the door, it was that easy. She lay there for the first time like that, with me.Again the lights go out and the mask is rotated to become the other character, the Old Man. This switch happens between each speech.
The station wagon broke down and rusted away during the hardest winter. The boy, recovering from a fever, thought he saw wolves in the forest, but everyone laughed because this wasn’t true. The boy’s father came and went. Snow fell. The river froze.Switch to Young Man.
I made here give it to me and then I felt better. She cried a little but I hit her and she shut up. I don’t feel bad about hitting her because she doesn’t really exist. No don’t try to make me feel bad about it. I won’t let you make me feel bad about anything.Switch to Old Man.
Summer came like a blood hunger. The boy’s mommy withered while the trees bloomed and the wheat rose. The priest put his hand on hers and whispered Deus dedit dentes, Deus debit panem. The septic tank broke, and rats by the dozen entered the yard.Switch to Young Man.
I had to beat the dogs with the stick-end of a broom to keep them out of the meat in the ‘fridge. She cooked me some breakfast while the sun went down. She wanted to give me a haircut but I told her the hairs are growing down inside my head so it wouldn’t do any good.Switch to Old Man.
The boy spent his days sitting in the rusted station wagon, picking his teeth and watching the birds circle overhead. There was no traffic in front of the house since the new highway had been built on the other side of the lake. The rat problem had been solved.Switch to Young Man.
I put a six-pack in her arms and made her follow me down to the lake. She was so scared of swimming it was funny. I jumped in with all my clothes on and swam to the other side of the lake. I could barely see her standing there on the other shore, crying and screaming at me. I took my wet clothes off and left them there while I swam back to her.Switch to Old Man.
The deer in the woods nervously sniffed at the first sign of winter. The priest looked out over his flock and said God gave teeth, God will give bread. An unusually high autumn sun averted most shadows.Switch to Young Man.
I had to beat the dogs off her with a hammer.Switch to Old Man.
A red car skidded off the highway and exploded when its driver fell asleep.Switch to Young Man.
I got another can of beer from the ‘fridge and sat down to watch the fire I had set.Switch to Old Man.Old Man unwraps a bandage from his left arm. At first the bandage is white but as more is unwrapped, the dark stains of a wound become visible, become larger and bloodier as he continues unwrapping. Lights out just before the wound is finally exposed.