Written by Joe Janes
41 of 365
Yahnkin, 50s, Australian
(We hear slow building light classical music, sort of like the theme from 2001, but, please God, not that! As the music builds, light comes up center stage revealing Yahnkin. He is playing the music on a keyboard with his right hand. He wears a hands free microphone on his head. He is naked except for a pair of tight black spandex shorts and a cape. His left arm is shrouded under the cape. When the music reaches its peak it stops cold and he dramatically raises his left arm revealing a fish fin.)
YAHNKINThe evolution of man – and woo-man. When man first crawled from the ocean he did so on all four fins. The further he moved from the surf, the more his fins became obsolete. They fell from his – and her – body and were replaced by fleshy hands and feet. Feet, which are just long hands with nubby fingers. But was evolution the right choice? If man – and woo-man – had to do it all over again, would they make the same choice? I am Yahnkin. I am an artist. I call this performance piece “First Hand.” Last year in Helsinki, a top team of well-paid surgeons removed my left arm and replaced it with the ventral fin of a whale. It cost millions of dollars. The expense was underwritten by three major universities, one not as major university and Pepsi. I did this so I could experience, first hand, what it was like for our ancestors when they were finned.
(Yahnkin steps over to a small table with various props on it.)
What was it like for the first man – or woo-man – to drink for refreshment?
(He tries to grab a can of Pepsi with his fin. He is unable to and ends up knocking the can on the ground. He mewls like an animal in frustration.)
What was it like to groom one’s self?
(He reaches for a hairbrush and tries to pick it up. He is unable to. He tries to comb his hair with his fin and cries while doing so.)
My biggest question was how did man – or woo-man – move beyond the daily needs of function and learn to express love through touch.
(He approaches a woman in the audience.)
Please stand. (Whether she stands or not, he sincerely says…) Thank you. What was it like for a finned being to caress the cheek of a lover? (He does so while sighing.) …What was it like to playfully tickle? (He does so while saying “Goochie-coo.”)... What was it like to strike another in a fit of rage (He rears his fin over his head as if about to hit her. He regains control and calms himself down.) I promised the doctors that I would never use my fin in anger.
(He walks back to his original position at the keyboard and strikes a sustaining note.)
We lost our fins to evolution. We should reclaim them. Reclaim them in the name of revolution! I am Yahnkin.
(He takes a deep bow, regardless of the response. He then looks at the watch on his human arm.)
I still have another 45 minutes left in my performance. I will spend the rest of the time standing here and you may come up and touch my fin.
(He stands and waits in silence. If someone does, great. If no one does, even better. After a long, painful lull...)
I will now retire to my dressing room, which is the men’s bathroom on the third floor. Please knock before entering if you need to use it. I am Yahnkin!
(He exits with a flourish. Lights out.)