“freely engage with Thom Monckton’s perfect performance” - Dresdner

The Inquiline

Performed by Thomas Monckton

Voice - Nicole Meier

January 2013 / Projekt Theater, Dresden, Germany

What would happen if you refused to be born?

Instead you forced your way into other people’s bodies, lived their lives for them, did things they didn't want you to do. Like some kind of disgusting parasite.

Funny and alarming all at once, this is an exceedingly physical solo-show about the life of a human parasite who, rather than being born, became someone else. It’s a show about the cruelty of survival.

‘Definitions of virtue have changed as often as fashions, but for all their importance in polishing they will never have the same importance to survival as sins.’

The Inquiline has no name. But he has no body, either. He is the universal spirit of instinct, that gut-feeling, bravery and foolishness. He is immoral, grotesque and vile. But he wants you all to know: he loves you very much.


DNN - 05/01/2013


“I want to be with you”: Impressive physical play and thought-experiment – Inquiline at the Projekttheater

To begin with, New Zealander Thom Monckton, a wiry, gangly figure, stands in jogging bottoms on the stage. He and the question “Why not?”: why not try a thought experiment? What would it be like if one refused to be born and instead crept into the bodies of other people? A life as a human parasite. It’s depressing and at the same time breathtaking how Thom Monckton gives expression to such an existence. In the one-man “Inquiline – The Parasite”, which had its premiere at the Projekttheater, he whirls on his own around the stage, which is sparsely decorated with cardboard boxes and children’s furniture. But what turns the play into a serious mental game is the voice played over the action on tape, supplied by Nicole Meier. What you hear is the uninterrupted stream of consciousness of the parasite, which whispers its way into the human host and the audience in equal measure. A good deal of the suspense of the play, directed by Sasha Milavic Davies, comes from the contradictions that arise between Monckton’s silent performance and the utterances played over it.

These range from bare statements of fact to the monstrous. Switches of perspective, as the parasite knows, are profitable because they show that there’s more than one way of looking at things. To this accompaniment Monckton gives his well-versed, clown-like performance, with an urgency of a real parasite which literally worms its way into other people. An agonising process which explores loss of control and the battle for supremacy in a foreign body. When he leaves a person, the parasite shuts them in boxes which he “made himself”, as the off-stage voice explains. What the voice doesn’t say is shown on stage: it works only with this opposition. It probably also has to do with the compulsive actions of the parasite. “When the time comes when you just simply are, then I will do for you”, says the voice. The parasite is a mischief-maker, above all reproducing everyday actions. In the body of a woman he pulls a comb through her hair again and again. It comes across not as playful but compulsive and uncontrolled. At one point it’s the mirror that goes through the hair and the comb that the woman is looking into. The apparently unproblematic proximity is brittle, since, for the parasite, what matters in spite of all distractions is brute survival.

In the end it’s a man who defends himself against the human parasite. Monckton, who up until this point has limited himself to small gestures, knows in this scene to impress. With breathtaking bodily control he makes the wrestling of man and parasite within a foreign body believable. He uses the shoe from his left foot to hit his right hand, because it has just threatened to strangle him. In the end the parasite does indeed succeed in stowing the man away in one of his boxes. Triumph: the parasite sits like a king upon a stool, above him a throne drawn on the wall with chalk. How good it is – says the voice, echoing around the stage – always to be with others, never to be alone. At this moment Monckton takes in his hand a (likewise chalk-drawn) sword. In this warrior pose it sounds like a threat: “I want to be with you”!

Translation: Ben Mason


“breath-taking” - Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

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