Many of the Beardists dabbled in forms of performance art and theatre was no exception. Pitore wrote a one-man show called "Clawed Naked from the Womb" that he performed in the Mitre in Islington, to minor acclaim. More successful was Pointon's Beckett inspired "Between A Rock", which ran for a week in The Derby Playhouse in 1975, and was considered a "radical" move by the local press of the time. Sadly only a fraction of the unpublished play remains:
"BETWEEN A ROCK"
Two men, Paul and Mark, stand in a junkyard.
Mark wears a hip suit and glasses and is slender with shoulder-length hair and a trim beard. Despite his looks, he’s the least confident. Paul appears to be a scruffy long-haired layabout in flaired jeans, but is more dominant.
Mark: I’m not sure I like what’s coming.
Paul: Oh? How so?
Mark: That’s just it; I’m not sure. At five minutes to one – I checked, and it was actually five to one precisely. Even the second hand was standing to attention – at five to one I noticed that a large and singularly unruly cloud appeared, followed by another at one fifteen. By two they had merged to become a singular event that dampened the entirety of the sky, except for a vaguely rabbit-shaped blue hole in the east.
Paul: Where’s this going?
Mark: I’m not sure, but I don’t like it.
Paul: Sometimes I’m forced to conclude your entire purpose is bent towards expending, in the most obtuse and protracted ways, the passage of time.
Mark: It’s an art!
Paul: Or folly.
Mark: Whatever - it has purpose, it has form.
Paul: You’re certainly dedicated.
Mark: I am. Though it spoils things knowing you know.
Paul: I see.
Mark: That’s always my problem.
Paul: It’s mine too.
Mark: Well then – and in an effort to cast your thoughts in other directions, there-bye distracting you in order that I can resume without prejudice my artful folly – what, I ask, do you plan to do now?
Paul: And what, may I ask, propels you to speak in the third person?
Mark: Ah, that’s a double bluff I say!
Paul: I see.
Mark: You do?
Paul: Indeed. And I’m forced to conclude your efforts are pointless, and as such remain wasteful. I can’t stop seeing that which lies so very openly before me!
Mark: But to try in vane is none the less to try!
Paul: And that’s good is it?
Mark: Good or bad, it’s something!
Paul: In answer to your question, my plans are to return to matters of a metaphysical nature.
Mark: Ah! The quest for spirituality via reason! “It does because”, as opposed to “it must! It must! It must!”
Paul: Putting it simply.
Mark: I thank you. But aren’t we all doing that all the time, regardless? I heard a story of a fisherman who was cursed by abundant oceans and fragile nets. The very notion of the metaphysical is like trying to scoop a handful of stars out of the night sky, and yet it’s no more pointless than the moment we each live in – fleet and cold-footed. Borndead. Now I’m depressed.
Paul: We are, I think. You’re right. All doing it. I see that.
Mark: You see everything.
Paul: But to do it consciously, there’s the intent.
Mark: Like Schroder and Rickenstdaal – “In Event Analysis, given the predirect acquiescence of PrePlatite materialism in the late twentieth Century, one has to concur with the base acumen derived from non-linear circumstantial fulfilment quotients established by mean directives in the metaspherical argument.” That is to say, no one gets out of here alive, punk.
Paul: So that’s what they meant?
Mark: Not a bloody clue.
Paul: You see, for me it’s about perspective and scale. We’re too small. It’s all too big. Then there’s who created who and why? I don’t buy the “we’re not worthy to understand, just trust in your ignorance and your heart will tell you the rest” line. My heart, in its function as a muscular valve with neither mind nor voice, says bullshit.
Mark: And thus the lonely poet signed his blank check, stepped out of his front door right under a bus. Later, when musing the loss of two legs he had long loved – though he had neglected to tell them as much – concluded that their twin souls would await him in another moment a mere breathe away.
Paul: Sweet, but entirely irrelevant.
Mark: Harsh. But I concur. Except in that it gifts limbs with souls, like your allegorical heart.
Paul: Metaphorical, surely?
Mark: Or actual?
Paul: Indeed, actual. But where, then, does the soul abide?
Mark: And here am - I expecting so much; delivered so very little. Surely there’s a more satisfactory way of framing that?
Paul: Now I’m depressed.
Mark: I think just lazy. The true metaphysical questee must aim higher than base cliché!
Paul: To the heart my friend.
Mark: And again. Thus must I skewer the soul!
Paul: And the ego.
Mark: Which too abides in the heart?
Paul: It’s where I ache.
Mark: It’s where you think!
Paul: And so - I die.
Mark: Yeah. Bit melodramatic there.
Paul: OK, where are we at?
Mark: In what context?
Paul: The context of this moment.
Mark: Conversationally, or in space and time? And you know the space/time thing gets tricky…
Paul: Only if you’re a literalist or intentionally obfuscating…
Mark: Or if we’re marrying the literal with the metaphysical quest.
Paul: Fair enough. I asked for that.
Mark: You did. And I therefore remain unable to answer.
Paul: Metaphysically then.
Mark: Are we to be postmodern?
Paul: Oh yes! Can’t beat the passage of time for it’s own sake – such that we determine the existence of time as a linear only in the Parson’s Retro-dilinear montage model sense of the concept…
Mark: Taking, as we do, the causual allocation of the Beaumontford wave in relation to Einstein’s presupposition that light is only subject to space/time when directly observed…
Paul: And as such, being both particle AND wave depending on the observation…
Mark: And taking into account the postulated leakage of gravity from the 17th dimension, itself of infinite length and miniscule circumference…
Paul: That passage through time is perception-based only…
Mark: And therefore directly opposed to chance…
Paul: When observed in reverse, which presents the universe deconstructing itself inevitably and with clear direction and purpose.
Mark: You know, I’ve still got that sore heal?
Paul: You should get it looked at.
Paul: Well then, no time to waste!
Mark: It’s a free-for-all!
Paul: It’s Darwinian!
Mark: It’s positively by design!
Paul: I disagree!
Mark: I knew you would!
Mark: I hear that in Alepo once and Turkish man wearing a turban beat the crap out of a Venician, and subsequently traduced the state…
Paul: It’amazing - how these tales survive. What happened?
Mark: Somebody smote the prick-eared cur.
Paul: Did he deserve it?
Mark: I heard the Venician was a right bastard, so no. No, not really.
Paul: OK, so – given we’re still both here, and our deductions have left us none the wiser, what do we do now?
Mark: I was thinking – I can’t remember what I did yesterday. And then I thought, I can’t remember what I did before that. I know it sounds odd, but…
Paul: You’ve said all this before.
Mark: I have?
Paul: Yes, earlier.
Paul: There you go again with the whole ‘when’ thing… it’s circular. It’s a ring.
Mark: It’s all loops, that’s just it.
Paul: As you said.
Mark: I did?
Mark: Well maybe. Either way, I’m not sure what I’m meant to be doing.
Paul: You just forgot.
Mark: There’s the rub.
Paul: There’s the answer.
(A nude girl, Miriam, appears. She looks haunted.)
Paul: It’s no good. She’s not here yet.
Mark: It’s been a while. Do you think she’s alone?
Paul: We’re all alone Mark.
Mark: No need to patronise me Paul. Hello? What’s your name?
Paul: I told you, it’s no good.
Miriam: Miriam. My name’s Miriam. Where am I?
Paul: Well there’s a surprise!
Mark: It’s funny you should ask. We’ve been asking the same question all morning, but Paul here thinks he’s got it all sussed out. I’m not so sure. Let’s say I’m philosophical.
Paul: But what we need to be is scientific, even when looking at the concept of the metaphysical.
Mark: It keeps things lively I suppose. Me? I’m more an artist.
Paul: (Snorts derisively.)
Miriam: It was cold, and then…
Mark: Yes! You see? That’s the sense I get! Or maybe hot. Either way, it was other…
Paul: You’re deluding yourself, creating romantic ideals.
Miriam: I’m Miriam.
Mark: Hello Miriam. What do you do?
Miriam: I’m a classroom assistant. At least, I…
Paul: I’m Paul. We’ve been here a while. Before that I, we…
Mark: I procrastinate, he examines…
Miriam: That’s odd. I was miles away. I’m all right now. Shouldn’t we light a fire?
Mark: A wonderful idea!
Paul: We’ve not got any matches. It’s not cold.
Miriam: I thought I was cold.
Mark: So, where is it you teach?
Miriam: I don’t know, I…
Paul: Leave her alone.
Mark: I thought it might help!
Miriam: I think I’m meant to be somewhere.
Mark: It’s a fate we all suffer!
Paul: I object to the term ‘fate’.
Mark: He’s pragmatic, he thinks. It’s very tiresome. He never laughs at my jokes.
Paul: I can see them coming a mile off!
Mark: You see what I put up with Miriam?
Miriam: Must you always bicker?
Paul: We’re practically in love!
Mark: It passes the time.
Paul: While it passes us.
Mark: And we ponder it.
Miriam: I think you’re sad.
Mark: Certainly we are, though we know not why…
Paul: He thinks he knows not why.
Mark: And he thinks he knows everything!
Paul: I only know what I see.
Mark: And what do you see old friend?
Miriam: I think we should build a fire.
Mark: And I agree. There’s an oil drum over there. That’ll do for starters. It might be dark soon.
Paul: Then again, it might not.
(Mark goes to get the oil drum. Miriam starts to collect sticks and anything else that might burn. Paul talks as they rummage and build a fire.)
Paul: It didn’t use to be like this you know. Birds sang – remember? I’m not sure I even quite recall what they looked like, but I can remember the sounds they made. I remember lots of things, but when does memory ever make anything better? I know what I see; and I remember. And all I know is that every moment runs barefoot-by while we’re not paying attention. It runs and runs and we never catch it, though we’re following dutifully behind, awash in a wake of forgetfulness and non-linear motion - impetus without direction, dreading an end. And no moment is brightest in hindsight. The memory of dreams is as profound and solid as any waking moment. So yes, I know what I see, and I remember, but knowing means nothing. Knowledge, as all things, must topple under the relentless wave of time, and all things must decay and die and cease and be forgotten. And time itself will be crushed under the weight of it’s own relentlessness, so that not even it will exist. And long before it ceases to exist it will have already been forgotten.
Mark: That’s right, let’s drag it over here…
Miriam: It’ll be cosy.
Mark: Maybe it’ll be dark soon. That’ll be nice – though I’m sure I’m meant to be somewhere…
Paul: We haven’t got any matches.
Mark: Fire! Boys and fire! A primal drive – the hunter gatherer! The natural philosopher, watching the stars… You have to love a good fire!
Miriam: That’s such a presumptuous cliché…
Paul: Mark likes a presumptuous cliché. It helps him procrastinate.
Mark: I can’t argue with that. And, methinks, that might be a cue for another ill-conceived and unmotivated metaphor that may be allegorical: It’s often said that he who knows most in the land of the eastern sunset heads South when directed North. Once there were five cats with nine tails each. The spirits of dead cats are therefore left with two. It’s the only way to truly be sure you’ve seen the ghost of a cat.
Miriam: That’s ridiculous.
Paul: But only partially false.
Miriam: So, shall we light it?
Paul: We don’t have any matches.
Mark: We should wait until it’s dark anyway. Why waste it?
Paul: And it’s not cold.
Miriam: I don’t like what’s coming...