(The stage is dressed in white, highly reflective panes of glass hanging down from above, the effect being the interior of an opaline crystal. The panes are arranged randomly—not messily, but without a clear design or functionality to the arrangement. At various points around the stage, there are “mounds” which crop up at various heights. The light is soft and clear, yet there is a sense of movement—a sense of life—in it. MAN is sitting just off-center, on a relatively short mound, and is biting into an invisible apple.)
(calling upward) Do you hear me chewing up there? (to the “apple”) Nice and crunchy. Nice and crispy—no, “crisp,” rather. Nice and crisp. (calling upward again) Do you hear me? (beat) Hmm… Whether I eat the core or not, I believe, has no bearing on my state. Doomed, damned, done for.
(MAN finishes the “apple,” throws the core back over his shoulder and stands up on the mound.)
What I’ve done, I can’t deny. ‘Tis done, as they say. (calling upward) Did you hear that? I’ve confessed! Now, what’s your move? (beat) Do you have a move? Huh?
(as in an echo) Huh? Huh?
(ignoring VOICE's "reply") Hey, where’d it go? Where'd my—
(MAN looks around, not seeing what he seeks. He hops across onto a nearby mound for a better vantage. He is visibly agitated.)
Oh, say… Oh, I say. (beat) I say. I saw. I ate. I… don’t belong here. This…
(MAN gestures to the space all around.)
…doesn’t belong here. It used to be beautiful. It used to be perfect and (sniffs) far better-smelling. Now, it feels so low.
(A low rumble suddenly breaks in and fades out. MAN jumps down from the mound, crumbling into a sort of half-somersault/half-dance-step kind of collapse onto the ground.)
(retching) How did I get so low?
(as in an echo) So low?
You, again? (beat) Is that you, apple? (beat) Is that you, God?
(MAN sits up.)
Isn’t this game getting tiresome? Huh? Isn’t the game played out by now? Isn’t it? Well?
(as in an echo) Well? Well?
(gradually starting to sing) Yes, it is… well. With my soul. It is well; it is well. (beat) With my…
(MAN gets up on both knees, leans back slightly and holds his arms out in crucifixion.)
(full-out singing) …soooul!
(as in an echo) Soul! Soul! Soul!
I heard that. Do you hear me? I heard that!
(MAN stands and, over the course of the following line, makes his way to the top of the highest mound.)
Now shut up and listen, monsieur echo-chamber, if that’s what you are. Certainly, it’s what you would seem to be. And so you are what I say. Echo-chamber. You spend your days absorbing words—barely phonemes—to you, less than mere gasps, squawks and grunts—without any consciousness of the fact. And you spend your nights bouncing these words back to their originator as a rubber band snaps back to its original shape. (beat) And you would rather do this for all eternity than to have a moment’s glimmer of consciousness.
What is consciousness to an inanimate echo-chamber? Thoughts of naught. Thoughts of squat. Thoughts of… what?
(Another sudden rumble hits the air, but it is so low and so enigmatic that one might question whether it even truly sounded. MAN hears it loud and clear. And he trembles.)
I am what.
(Another rumble pierces through, and some of the panes quiver. MAN looks about for someplace to hide, but there is none. And he knows this.)
You—you are what?
I am what gives you life.
(A beating rumble reverberates the stage, and the sound of it can only be described as like the heartbeat of God. There is no escaping or mistaking its power.)
(screaming) Please! Please! Have mercy! Have mercy!
(At the sound of MAN’s second plea for mercy, the “heartbeat” rumble suddenly quiets, gradually stills, and eventually halts.)
(as in an echo) Mercy.
(Pause. MAN breathes. Lights slowly fade. END OF PLAY)