Tramp on Tightrope with Monkeys 

Tramp on Tightrope with Monkeys begins in darkness as we hear a clarinet and a harmonium playing “The Honeysuckle and the Bee.”  Then lights come up on Charlie (Chaplin) and a sofa with a coffee table in front of it, a desk and a chair.  Charlie talks about realizing that you know what happens next,,as if you have seen the movie before and know when you come in.  He says he doesn’t understand time but that movies are like time travel.  He says he often dreams of falling, attacked by monkeys.  He want to call for help but remembers the Tramp has no voice and to give him a voice would kill what’s universal in him.  He says sound killed the movies but that eventually the Tramp sings.  And yet, he says, here he is, speaking.  He says the only way to keep your identity is to be silent.  He says he loves women but doesn’t like them because they compulsively betray.  He says it is terrifying when everybody thinks they love you because the person they love doesn’t exist and when they find that out, they hate you.  But inside you know you’re nobody at all.  He tells the audience to throw away old loves when they’re no more use to them and never get trapped in someone else’s movie.  He speaks of devotion to one’s craft and the importance of control in movies and relationships.  He says he gets into trouble when he talks and that he is a spiritual anarchist communicating from an intense and impenetrable isolation.  He speaks of identity and playing roles, of mirrors and fictions.  He says the trick is not to remember that you’re somebody else.  He says he is the Tramp and Charlie, too.  When one looks in the mirror he sees the other looking back at him.  The price of being one is always that of also being the other.  God and the Devil.  It’s a double feature.

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