Act Without Words Summary

Act Without Words Summary

The lone character in this drama—usually a man, but there is absolutely no reason it need be—suddenly is flung backward onto the stage. He gets himself, dusts himself and pauses for a moment to reflect before there is a whistle which stimulates further reflection and what turns out to be another attempt to leave the stage.

Once again, he finds himself flung back from whence he came and he repeats the same getting up, dusting off, reflection, hearing a whistle, going to inspect, exiting and getting throw back onto the stage.

This scenario repeats itself until once when he tries to exist he stops and considers the almost certain consequences at which point a tree descends from above and plants itself behind him. With just one lone bough and barely any palms, it is a pretty pitiful excuse for a tree and when the whistle comes and causes him to turn a look at it, he care barely fit its shadow as he sits down and studies his hands. As he does so, a pair of scissors slowly lowers from above him and comes to a rest before the tree. As the man reflects upon his palms, a whistle draws him attention to the scissors, which he grabs and uses to give himself a manicure.

At this point, the pitiful palm leaves close like an umbrella being undone and the shadow suddenly disappears which causes him to drop the scissors and commence his silent reflection. Suddenly, a carafe labeled with WATER slowly falls from the sky and dangles, but he doesn’t notice anything—as usual—until there is a whistle to draw his attention to the carafe which he goes to stand under but cannot reach. This failure results in a rejection of the attempt and more reflection.

The man fails to see a large cube falling from above. Until there is a whistle. The sound of which sends him over for inspection of the cube and then the carafe. Reflection results in cognitive awareness and he grabs the cube, carries it to the spot beneath the carafe, tests its ability to hold his weight, steps onto the it, fails to reach the carafe, gives up and put the cube bac where it was.

A smaller cube lands and a whistle draws the man’s attention. He goes to the second cube and puts it under the carafe and tests its capacity to hold his weight and climbs it and fails to reach the carafe. He takes the small cube back to where he found it but then reconsider and sets it back down beneath the carafe. He gets the bigger cube, place it atop the small cube, tries to get the carafe and winds up falling to the ground. Upon reflection, he tries again by putting the smaller cube atop the bigger cube.

Just when he is about to grab the carafe, it is yanked out of reach.

When a third, even smaller, cube appears, he can only reflect on its potential before it suddenly flies away. Then a rope appears—complete with knots to facilitate climbing—appears next to the carafe. Whistling and reflection continue. Ascent using the rope which fails as the rope falls back to the ground. He gets the scissors and cuts the rope, making a lasso. Before he can even try to catch the carafe in his lasso, the carafe disappears upward.

He grabs the lasso and makes to create some height using the cubes to reach the tree’s one long bough. When he turns his back however, the bough has collapsed. This cause him to return the cubes, one at a time, to where they were and to place the lasso on the smallest one. A whistle stimulates another attempt to exist and once again he is flung back.

After further reflection, he hears another whistle, but fails to move until he starts looking around for the scissors which he uses again to trim his nails. Then he lays the scissors on one of the cubes and starts to trail his finger up and down his neck. The small cube disappeared, carrying away the rope and scissors. When he reaches for the scissors, he realizes they are gone. He sits down on the big cube until it’s pulled out from under him and flies away. Lying on his side, he fails to move when the carafe suddenly comes to a rest a few feet away. A whistle and the water draws nearer to his face. Then the carafe is pulled up and disappears.

The bough of the tree lifts back into place and the palms reopen as the shadow returns. No movement from the man so the tree is pulled up and disappears.

The man just sits there looking at his hands.

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