(OSLO 2017)

Cue two strangers. They have a telephone conversation about something that matters to them. One of them speaks of recent deaths in her family, the other commiserates and talks about the healing process of communal grieving. This conversation is anonymous, nameless, faceless. They have never met, nor are they likely to. This conversation, like many others, was not a revelatory moment for either of them. But it was meaningful. They shared something, acknowledged and understood one another, recognised each others’ individual existence.

Phone Box was an interactive performance work in which several 15-minute one-to-one conversations took place over 4 days at Sagene and KHiO. People who wanted to participate were invited to step into the phone box and pick up the phone, where someone on the other end of the line was waiting to speak with them - a Stranger.

In each conversation there were two interlocutors, a Stranger and a Participant. While each conversation varied, they were to an extent staged as the Strangers are friends of mine who led the conversation by opening with a personal story and asking questions, trying to engage the Participants and get them to reflect on and express views on topics such as time, language, community, shame and education.

Y talks about a traumatic experience where a girl she was partying with died of a drug overdose and how her perception of time was altered.

K reflects on how language has shaped his awareness of gender and reveals others’ changing perception of his gender as a transgender person undergoing hormone therapy.

D talks about the death of her grandfather and the conflict she feels between the community-based life he lead and her own more individualistic pursuits.

M recounts the public shaming of her friend who fell pregnant and was expelled for it, then muses over different forms social control.

L talks about bullying she endured in school, how it affected the way she saw herself and how higher education later helped her come to terms with herself.