oskarBarbara Campbell.

Oscar, just like that, changes his name. Tonight he’s going to be someone else because clearly, that other one wasn’t working for him. Suddenly he’s not from Wollongong either. He’s from… from Quebec! Why not? He can do a pretty good French accent. He feels so much better as Regis from Quebec.

Why had she come straight to the hotel from the doctor’s surgery? The X-ray envelope wouldn’t fit in her purse. She can’t take it into the function room. There has to be a cloak room here somewhere.

Craig fancied himself as quite the Romeo in his 20s, travelling throughout South America, volunteering at a youth hostel in Lima. Now he stays at home reading vegetarian cookbooks. He was beginning to tire of beans. Rachel has tried it all; tango classes; trekking holiday in India; movie club; life-writing course. She thought she’d give speed-dating a go.

Victor is a Yankee fan, and he’s not American, never even been to the States. But he signed up to Foxtel right from the start and has never, ever, missed a game. It’s the off season now.

Papa Don’t Preach is her karaoke song of choice but not with the extra kilo she is carrying. This midriff top is a big mistake. Okay, she likes this game. The hostess “call me Jen” says it’s a way to warm things up. They have to write down as many couples as possible in two minutes, starting … NOW!

She says Romeo. He says Juliette. He says Echo. (Ah, a challenge.) She says Narcissus. She says Hepburn, he says Which one? She says Katharine. He says Tracy. They start talking about that movie then, about that weirdo millionaire, how maybe it should be Katharine Hepburn and Howard Hughes. Jen rings the bell. He puts an asterisk next to Beth in his little notebook and moves to the next table.
Sport? Well, actually Mike likes to play golf on the weekends but that seems a little staid so instead he says he’s in training for the City to Surf.

Yeah, I prefer Charlie to Charlotte. Charlotte sounds a bit uppity, you know? My first car was a V-dub beetle. So cute. Yeah, I was really sad when that one died. What about you, Drew?

Ford Sierra. Replaced the Ford Cortina. Loved it so much I brought it with me from New Zealand. Never saw another one over here. Kept that baby running for years. Rust killed her in the end.

Lou was onto her third whiskey and fifth date of the night. This guy was so in need of affirmation, by the time he reached the end of his monologue, all she could say was “Bravo!”

Caro has a system. For each month of the year she is trying out a new activity. August was pub knitting. September was new salads. October was everywhere by train transportation only. November was private classes with the Australasian champion of the Foxtrot. December she has designated the dating month.
Funny, Claire thinks to herself, how all the Alpha males in the room were quickly downgraded to Delta once they started talking
Helen had never spoken to someone so, so, so, well, black! And his teeth, so, so, white and, and, and, uniform!

Yes, I am from South Africa, specifically from KwaZulu-Natal but I came here with my parents at the end of apartheid when I was 13. They were too close to some of the Afrikaner officials, if you understand my meaning. Kwazulu, it means Place of the Zulu. I will go back there one day but not while my parents are still alive.
At 10pm, it’s all over. Jen goes to the back bar to go over the receipts.

Bio ~ Barbara Campbell.
Barbara Campbell has performed in Australia, Europe and the USA, in museums, galleries, public buildings, photographs, on film, video, radio, and the internet, in silence and with words, still and moving, since 1982. The Department of Performance Studies at Sydney University produced a survey exhibition of her 1997–2001 performances with an accompanying catalogue, Flesh Winnow (Power Publications: 2002) and she is now an Associate Artist with the Department. In 2004 she received an Australia Council Fellowship to develop and produce her online durational performance work, 1001 nights cast [http://1001.net.au]. She is now a PhD candidate at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.