Objects of Solitude

A single-serve soup packet, a little bottle with the smell of childhood, a little toy gun. – These objects related to solitude were brought by the audience to the first shows of Home Alone by researcher and artist Jean-Lorin Sterian at lorgean theatre, the only living-room theater from Romania. At the end of the performances, they were kindly asked to tell their stories. At the entrance, the audience symbolically received a receipt with the words »value of the loneliness object« written on it.

A door mat with the word »Welcome« written on it, very clean as no one has ever stepped on it. A telephone which never rings. An unpaired sock. A lipstick used when one person was unable to talk. A book by Romanian national poet Eminescu in French, read by nobody except the owner. A single-serve soup packet. A reproduction of a painting of Picasso, seen in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, where a girl should have gone with her boyfriend, but ended there by herself. A pillow hugged during moments of loneliness. A little bottle with sand from the Sahara in it. A jackknife, the only object from a grandfather who had been in the war. A vase remained from the separation of goods. A warmer. Two tickets to the museum, bought in order to seem like a couple. An unused condom. A little bottle with the smell of childhood loneliness spent away from the mother. Another little toy gun. Voyeuristic binoculars. A solitary toothbrush in a porcelain glass after the other had been packed away with the other stuff from the boyfriend. Earphones isolating you at the workplace. A Rubik’s cube taken from a room which has never been visited by anyone. Another toothbrush. Another phone, broken in despair. Other earphones. A little toy gun which may end loneliness. A CD with 16 songs dedicated to loneliness. A black worn keyboard: the only caressed object.

The play begins when somebody calls you on the phone. You find out the address, the date, and the hour when you have to be there. You take the elevator after you receive a ticket in exchange for the object you brought. This must be your personal symbol for loneliness.
Then you sit down on the floor, in the dark, amongst people you do not know. Lorin plays some music. Then, a monologue follows. A few people sit on a chair in front of you and say some stuff. They are using an informal kind of language. The theatricality they employ is different from one speaker to the next.
Stories are being told. Online chat conversations are being read out loud. You get the feeling that everything can be part of the play. Hesitations and accidents too. Even the lamp shade at the back of the chair, which is the only light within this room.

»Feeling lonely« becomes »being alone,« without the negative vibe. And maybe only then, does the play end, fulfilling its therapeutic function. Mircea Nicolae

At the end, you have to say something as well. You brought something from home. It’s your turn to explain why this thing is connected to loneliness. Willy-nilly, you end up making a confession. You listen and are being listened to. A few days after, Lorin will send you an email asking you to write a short text, the story of your object. Both the object and your story will end up in an exhibition.
The theatrical representations staged in the living room and the resulting exhibition of objects are actually parts of a social experiment.
Your very presence within the public is part of a pre-determined script, which at some point will turn you into an actor during the play. This means that there is an overarching conceptual frame into which your behavior has been naively trapped.
You are the victim of a creator of social situations who will make you understand, against your will, that any human behavior can be considered proper theater.
And once you take a look at the objects in the exhibition and you read the stories that accompany them, you end up smiling all the way through.
Loneliness ends up looking less bleak than it seems to all of us when we are vulnerable. Most of the time it looks childish.