“And so it’s true, lo and behold I was the only one with a camera, the day Jesus was laid in his tomb.” Lottie holds the photo hardware up for the gallery crowd to scrutinise. A retro model, but containing more computerised technology packed into it, than available to the entire global effort for outer space travel, c.1954 – 1986. “So that’s my story and now I am ready to take some questions. You there, with the clown make-up, what would you like to ask?”
The beige-coloured painted walls of the gallery space, specially commissioned for the one-person, one-piece exhibition, has created a relaxed atmosphere. The critics from the press have been polite throughout Lottie’s monologue account, despite the only beverage available being tap water.
Joseph of Arimathea cries out: “Who, has left Our Lord’s mortal vessel slumped on the chair like this?”
Within the tomb, an elderly turbaned man emerges from out of the shadows. Dressed in an embroidered stola, a walking-stick decorated by intergrown knots helps bear the load of sombreness he carries as he shuffles into a space of light.
“I am Nicodemus of Judea,” his voice is hoarse, dry and pitched upwards, “High Priest of Sanhedrin and I swear to Almighty God, that it was not I. Perhaps, instead…” a stubby index finger extends outwards to form an accusatory pointing device, “it was him, over there!”
“… and now,” the newsreader concludes “with the time fast approaching ten thirty and a-hem… acting in full compliance with the newly elected government’s single issue election manifesto promise…” the middle-aged man pushes himself up and out of his chair, “I will disrobe, taking off all my actual clothing.”
“In this special, extended edition of the news,” the newsreader tugs at his tie and begins unbuttoning his shirt, “the Nudist Party’s MP for Dulwich and recently appointed Minister for the Department of Domestic Affairs, Ms Brighton Hope… is here with us to explain the Nudity Act, which was rushed through the Commons today and became a part of British Law, just a few seconds ago.”
An odd moment for the viewing public: the camera recording the scene swings in different directions, seemingly out of control. Aspects of the studio not normally seen are revealed. Lighting, cables and members of the crew holding e-clipboards are caught motionless in the shadows.
A bonus! The distraction has spared viewers the sight of a saggy backside flopping out over the elasticated waistband of a pair of rather grim-looking underpants, descending two flagpole legs. The next stabilised image frames the newsreader re-seated on his caster wheel chair behind the studio desk, with his modesty mostly in check.
“Adam, I’m glad you came in following our conversation on the fone. Won’t you sit down, no? Okay, let’s cut to the chase shall we? Now, let me get this absolutely right, you want me to give consideration towards allowing you to work from home. Is that right?”
“In case its passed anyone by,” Professor of Psychology Daniel Moccasin said, as he tapped the knuckles of his left hand against the wall-mounted presentation screen-still displayed in front of the small class, “things have changed. And by this, I mean things have changed again. We now face a new, new normal. One that no one could have predicted, not even if they’d had a crystal ball could they have done so, no…” He paused and looked around at the clueless expressions tied to the front of each student’s face. A hand went up, emerging confidently from the back row of the classroom. “Yes, Butterley, isn’t it? Stand up, what have you got to say for yourself?”
“Alright, Oliver I am totally fed-up with this conversation.” Charlotte said, her smouldering eyes staring out one thousand yards across the vast void that was their marbled dining hall. Beyond the red Jarrah hardwood dinner table and chairs, the mirror-panelled wall reflected back her expression into Oliver’s view. He felt a twinge of sorrow for her, which he kept to himself. “Great! I’m relieved, its felt like an intensive interrogation for over the last twenty minutes.”