“Look, I will tell you this and I don’t know whether you have been advised of this or not, I want to advise you of two things. The first thing I want to advise you is that you’ve given answers that are so culpably idiotic that can’t be accepted is tantamount for refusing to answer questions. You do not answer questions by simply opening your mouth and waiting for something to fall out. Do you understand that?”
The Commissioner, transcript of Operation Atlas
Open Your Mouth and Let Words Fall Out is a new contemporary performance work by performer and director David Williams based upon the barely-coherent testimony of conman Gerald Carroll to the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s Operation Atlas, a 2008 investigation of the ‘sex-for-development’ scandal that engulfed Wollongong City Council at that time. Open Your Mouth and Let Words Fall Out sidesteps the main business of the inquiry and focuses exclusively on the testimony of Gerard Carroll, one of the conmen accused of impersonating ICAC officials and blackmailing many of the scandal’s protagonists out of nearly $300,000. Carroll’s answers to sustained questioning became so absurd that the Commissioner was moved to make the outburst contained in the above epigraph, from which the title of this work is derived. Removing all of the inquiry’s questions, Open Your Mouth and Let Words Fall Out transforms Carroll’s testimony into a disintegrating monologue, with the loops and twists of Carroll’s evasive language viscerally mapped onto a constantly moving solo performer, transforming this seemingly nonsensical courtroom testimony into a strange, ridiculous, compelling, and at times almost-Beckettian verbatim performance work.
Written and performed by David Williams
Lighting design by Suzie Franke
“Williams ducks, weaves and shadowboxes in a breathless physicalisation of the arts of equivocation and deception.” Ben Brooker, RealTime