chapter  1
WILDERNESSES RECLAIMED The cave The tarantella
Pages 16

To Alisdair, too, the place is somehow familiar. It reminds him of a sound (like the sea) he heard in his head when, dizzy with food and alcohol, he stumbled through the maze of city streets, and also of a mental picture that accompanied the sound: a huge black shape that grew and grew until it devoured the sky. In their turn, the sound and picture evoke earlier sensations of a time ‘before anything happened’ (ibid.), prior to the existence of memory, when the sea-sound in his head was all there was. Alisdair has made himself a home of sorts in the cave that is the play’s setting and title. Though he knows very little about the cave (including its geographical location), he is certain of two seemingly paradoxical things: it is a source of terror, like the black shape that engulfed the sky, and it is his. This is ‘my place’ he tells Jo (ibid: 112, original emphasis).