Excerpt from This Is What Happened
PART 1 Commentators
1 A woman is talking on the radio.
2 What? No, she is talking on the telly.
1 Yes that’s right, absolutely, my mistake, she is talking on the telly.
3 But the volume is down.
1 A mute woman is talking on the telly.
2 If she was mute on the radio she wouldn’t exist.
3 We should probably make it clear that the mute woman is speaking with sound in her mouth, but the sound is in fact turned down – quite naturally – on the telly.
2 Yes precisely, let’s make it absolutely clear that the woman is most probably – indeed very likely – talking with volume.
1 She’s clearly saying something.
2 But it’s not clear what she’s saying.
3 That’s what we’re saying.
1 That’s all we’re saying.
2 That’s all we can say for sure.
3 The sound is right down.
2 On mute in fact.
1 In fact – you’re correct – it is on mute.
2 That is to say, her words can’t be heard, not because she is mute, but because the telly is.
3 The telly is mute.
1 No – correction – the telly is not mute.
2 The woman on the telly is on mute.
1 Which brings us to her mouth.
2 Which bring us – precisely – to her mouth that is moving in a way, which suggests words are being formed into... well... sentences.
3 Well meaning sentences.
1 But in fact she is only producing, silence.
2 It does look like silence.
3 What we can gather is that she appears to be speaking at length on something vitally important.
2 Although I should point out this is complete conjecture.
1 It is?
3 She may be speaking in – what’s known in the business as – absolute flapdoodle.
1 Is that the same as horseshit?
3 No, flapdoodle.
2 Although I must admit that this is also conjecture in itself.
1 What we can say for sure is she’s speaking at length.
2 That is to say she still appears to be talking.
3 I think it might be fair to say at this point – that she hasn’t stopped talking for quite some time.
1 The mute woman on the telly.
2 We should probably make it absolutely clear to our viewers...
3 To who?
2 Our viewers.
3 Ah, yes.
2 That there is in fact no woman on the telly.
1 What he means precisely is that there is no woman literally on the telly.
1 They are in fact inside the telly.
3 No, there is no one inside the telly.
1 On the screen of the telly in fact.
2 We should take this moment to make it crystal that there are no women literally on the telly set, inside the telly, nor on the actual screen of the telly itself.
3 Precisely. (Beat.) They are expressions.
1 They are – what shall we say – metaphors.
2 Metaphors, exactly, that have become everyday expressions.
3 Precisely, so as to be almost invisible.
1 Unnoticeable to the facts.
2 Absolutely. That is to say, these metaphors are so widely used and abused so as to be almost entirely negligible.
3 like a table leg.
3 like the leg of a table.
1 What about it?
3 Well, the leg of the table is not really a leg.
2 What do you mean it’s not a leg?
3 It’s not a leg.
2 What is it then?
1 What he’s saying is it’s not literally a leg.
2 Why’s it called a leg then?
3 It’s called a leg but it’s not in fact a leg.
2 You mean there’s no such thing as a table leg?
2 But there is a woman?
1 There is indeed quite conspicuously a woman.
3 And she has legs.
2 I want to know why there is no table leg?
3 What we do know is a woman is talking silently, most likely with legs, at even greater length than what we first supposed.
1 The woman looks very much at home on the telly.
2 What we can say is that this woman who looks very much at home is talking at great legs on the telly.
3 You mean great length?
1 You mean she’s been given a leg up.
2 I want to know how a legless table can stand up for itself?
1 The Riddle of the Sphinx.
Pause. 2 and 3 may look at 1, impressed or knowingly.
3 I think it’s fair to say she’s talking at great length with or without her legs on the telly.
1 We should point out there are no actual legs on the telly itself.
2 Not on the telly itself no.
1 Or inside the telly.
3 I concur that she does look very much at home on the telly but is in fact simultaneously not at home but in a studio.
2 doing two things at once.
1 The silent woman talking is a multi-tasker.
3 She may in fact be doing more than two things at once.
2 Her leg may be moving under the telly.
1 Which leg?
3 You have a point.
2 I can’t see any leg.
3 He also has a point.
1 Are we concluding this woman has no legs?
2 I’m concluding I can’t see any legs.
3 let’s take it as read that this woman does have legs.
2 From where we are sitting.
3 At this precise angle, yes.
1 What about the table leg?
2 What about the table leg?
1 Is her leg touching the table leg?
3 We cannot see a table leg.
2 Therefore there is no table leg.
1 If there are no table legs what will he eat his dinner off?
3 Metaphorically you mean?
2 In conclusion we have a woman on the telly, not literally, speaking silently, that is to say, most probably speaking normally, but with the sound turned right down so as to be on mute in fact, looking very much at home in a studio, talking at great length probably on a subject she is quite adept with.
3 This is at least how she sees it.
1 That is how we see it.
2 (referring to audience) This, is how you see it.