Finalist for the Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry!
A spotlight appears to light a large, ornate grandfather clock. The clock displays the correct time and is in perfect working order.
The actors sneak behind the audience and set the theatre on ﬁre.
Jonathan Ball’s Clockﬁre is a suite of poetic blueprints for imaginary plays that would be impossible to produce – plays in which, for example, the director burns out the sun, actors murder their audience or the laws of physics are deﬁled. The poems in a sense replace the need for drama, and are predicated on the idea that modern theatre lacks both ‘clocks’ and ‘ﬁre’ and thus fails to offer its audiences immediate, violent engagement. They sometimes resemble the scores for Fluxus ‘happenings,’ but replace the casual aesthetic and DIY simplicity of Fluxus art with something more akin to the brutality of Artaud’s theatre of cruelty. Italo Calvino as rewritten by H. P. Lovecraft, Ball’s ‘plays’ break free of the constraints of reality and artistic category to revel in their own dazzling, magniﬁcent horror.
‘In these spare, nightmarish theatrescapes, Ball directs our ‘impossible dreams’ by blurring the script between actor and audience, the real and the staged, the lived and the dreamed, the self and the other ... At times reading more as horror-film treatments than prose poems
(no doubt Ball’s intention), Clockfire finds its strength in irony.’
– Winnipeg Free Press
‘[Ball is] one of our most exciting young poets.’ – Robert Kroetsch, author of The Studhorse Man