I watched this piece over and over. The first time I was overwhelmed by it's relentlessness and it's intensity. Forced to look at nothing but a mouth, a mouth seemingly posessed by speech. Completely captivated, completely sucked in. I'm not even goiong to pretend I knew what the mouth was saying. I don't think the words are important. More the intensity and repetition of the words being said. Completely sucked into the whole performance. It's simplicity. The movement of the lips. The sounds. The effect it had on me as a veiwer, overwhelmed and lasting.
The mouth is a hypnotic feature to watch. In everyday conversation one barely looks to the mouth, focus is placed instead on the eyes. To look at the mouth suggests something else, a desire, and would probably make the speaker feel uncomfortable. Here, regardless of our desires for Bille Whitelaw we are forced to look at and watch the mouth (the mouth is detached even from the actress, it is just a mouth!) I heard somewhere that when the mouth is covered up, comminication is that bit more difficult as lip reading plays a surprisingly large part in out understanding of language. Yet here the pace and the relentlessness, sometimes repetetive speech can become lost. It is interesting to point out that Bille Whitelaw herself suffered from sensory deprevation in rehersal (she being placed blind folded in a hood on a podium), hyperventilated and collapsed on occassion.
It was a mouth unable to speak, then suddenly unable to stop speaking. The ranting seem like that of a mad woman who assures us that it is not her voice that can be heard ('Not I'). But that is all it is, a mouth, a voice. It isn't attached to anyone. You can't relate to any sort of character as there is none there. It is just a mouth. You get the feeling of unpleasant experiences, madness, thoughts that just won't quit. It all leads you to think, is this that voice you can't escape. The one inside your head. The self? As Billie Whitelaw put it "the inner scream."
Imagine being mute. Everytime you speak, you are spoken over, nobody cares, so you don't bother. All emotion, thoughts, expressions are inward. It would have to come out one day, perhaps as hysteria, perhaps as this, insesant speech.
We neither hear the beginning or the end, just an extract. No beginning. No end. Eternal.