A spotlight appears to light a large, ornate grandfather clock. The clock displays the correct time and is in perfect working order.
The actors sneak behind the audience and set the theatre on ﬁre.
CLOCKFIRE is a suite of poetic blueprints for imaginary plays that would be impossible to produce — plays in which, for example, the director burns out the sun, actors murder their audience or the laws of physics are deﬁled.
The poems in a sense replace the need for drama, and are predicated on the idea that modern theatre lacks both ‘clocks’ and ‘ﬁre’ and thus fails to offer its audiences immediate, violent engagement. They sometimes resemble the scores for Fluxus ‘happenings,’ but replace the casual aesthetic and DIY simplicity of Fluxus art with something more akin to the brutality of Artaud’s theatre of cruelty.
Italo Calvino as rewritten by H. P. Lovecraft, Ball’s ‘plays’ break free of the constraints of reality and artistic category to revel in their own dazzling, magniﬁcent horror.
Purchase of this print edition entitles you to a free eBook edition. The eBook will be delivered digitally, before the print book ships. The eBook is available on its own as well, directly from the publisher. (For weird legal reasons, I can give away the eBook, but I can't sell it.)
“If all the world's a stage, where do we go when we dream? Clockfire draws back the curtain on that haunted theatre. Like Piranesi's imaginary prisons or the self-weaving worlds of Escher, Jonathan Ball's beautiful nightmares both disturb and entice.” — Thomas Wharton
“[Ball is] one of our most exciting young poets.” — Robert Kroetsch
“[D]arkly comic, mysterious, horrifying, shocking and so postmodernly provocative you can’t read them quick enough. The limits of Ball’s imagination are unimaginable.” — St. John Telegraph-Journal
“Recommended if you like unpretentious lyrical theatric phantasmagoria.” — New Poetry Review
“There is also something of Italo Calvino’s Imaginary Cities, with Clockfire’s constant re-imaginings, and something of Borges too, with its repetitions and infinite regressions.” — New Pages
“In these spare, nightmarish theatre-scapes, Ball directs our “impossible dreams” by blurring the script between actor and audience, the real and the staged, the lived and the dreamed, the self and the other.” — Winnipeg Free Press