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Tunnel Drive: theatre in a car
a twelve minute multi-media experience
with video and live performer in a car
First developed and presented for The National Multicultural Festival Fringe in Canberra in February 2008, TUNNEL DRIVE was the second presentation for Theatre In A Car. The first was The Celica Of Existence in 2007. Audiences are restricted to three or four at at time. The car is blacked out with curtains against the windows. A two way video screen is set up on the windscreen with the video rear projected from a projector above the bonnet. An actor is in white face and head shaven sitting behind the wheel. No acknowledgement of the audience is given at any point. He is a ghost who must relive the story and try to make sense of the shadows inside his head throughout a failed life. He returns to the place of his childhood for discovery and truth only to die on the road while leaving.
TUNNEL DRIVE proved scary and very moving. It is an ideal work for festivals because it is only twelve minutes long. Approximately 16 performances are an ideal target for an evening.
A small group of people (audience) enters a car; a car like something out of a David Lynch or a Mad Max movie. A MAN with an emaciated whitened face, a deathly face, is seated and silent on the front seat behind the steering wheel. An old radio track is on the car radio. It's like something from the 1960s. We hear the Beatles mixed with 60s hype. The Shadow Friend is silent; still; almost frozen with his deathly face. It's freaky. But the audience are now passengers and they sit.
The man starts the engine. We feel it rev up. The wind screen is alive with the car's journey. We are aware that it is in fact a projection screen with projections outside the vehicle projected on to it.
There is surround sound. The sound of the drive is loud and the computer images support the sound.
It is a surprise as his voice is heard in surround sound.
Sound of Record player.
Oh ... I think I forgot to turn the record
player off ... Did I turn it off?
What is it about the highway as you
glide your way through the darkness
lit only by a tunnel of light from your
high beam? And you focus on it; you
have to focus on it to avoid the great
sleep ... while all around you are the
shadows and glimpses of the passing
universe and souls unknown except
by their transient glimmering; some
minor distraction along with the on-
coming headlights? And you think you
are alone with your thoughts while
your passengers sleep.
And who is that passenger who sleeps
on the seat beside you? Your lover?
Your brother? Family member?
Colleague? Significant other in one's
pathetic life? When driving on the
highway, what if the person you
thought you knew was a total
stranger? Take a good look. Look
and try to see who the person
really is ... and then try to
imagine the infinite possibilities of
what might be going on inside this
As you drive at night your eyes can't
see much more than the road and its markings. Can't even think too much
outside the road! The road itself
becomes all encompassing. Your
reality is nothing more than perhaps
what's been hiding inside your head.
People who were once so predictable
become echoes of lost importance.
They were your imperatives. Once!
But now all that's there is a lament
or a nagging lack of finality; a desire
The road is treacherous. It has a mind
that tries to pin point your weaknesses
in order to label and lampoon you with
its certainty. And the road is so certain.
If it weren't so certain we'd be lost in the
wilderness fighting savages and nature's
own brand of savagery. And what happens
when the savages destroy the road? You
know: put a land mine under foot or bomb
in a coke can and leave you stranded
without legs or arms or a beating heart ...
Oh don't start with all that metaphorical
nonsense. Everything is simply what
it is. Just you drive.
Don't listen to him. He'll go on and on
about something or other ... Muslims or
women! Always on about Muslims or
women! Look at him hiding behind his
mask unwilling to come out and face
I DO face my critics. I face them every
No need to become defensive!
MAN and MAN'S VOICE
No one's being defensive.
No one except you! And it's because
you've got so much to be defensive
NOTE: The above sample script is available FREE of charge for reading purposes, workshopping in classes and community theatres and evaluation of suitability and needs.
Purchase the whole script for $12 by clicking on the icon:
Production licence for schools and amateur groups is available for a $120 (AUD) fee. Professional fees are 10% of gross box office. However, we have found that scripts offered by Shadow House PITS have had a resonance in areas which do not have a capacity to pay. Should you wish to produce any of these works and do not have a capacity to pay and/or recoup fee costs at box office, then please just let me know. In such cases, I would just like to get a report on the production and if possible, some photographic or video imagery from the work. It has been most gratifying to hear of small scale productions taking place in areas without charge. If any of these works, or the plays in the "youth" section, are of value to your group or school in financially poor areas please feel most welcome to use the texts free of additional charge.
And, to be sure, the prime criteria for letting out the licence is a passion for the material and a desire on the producer's part to challenge audiences and the respective cultures where the work is to be performed. None of the Shadow House PITS scripts are mere entertainments. All are conceived within the context of personal, social and cultural challenge. You are invited to join us on this quest by producing one or more of these works within your own cultural and community context. We invite you to exercise your imagination and your desire to embrace theatre for change and liberation. Let me know if you find any other offerings on the Internet that have the same or similar aims.
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