Flat out like a lizard is a play, which explores victims and predators, vulnerability and the nature of the creative life. The storyteller Lazarus White is continually finding ways to tell the audience confronting and uncomfortable stories that they “would rather leave alone”. Every phrase and word is being picked to maintain investment from his audience, while also telling these truths. The world as described by Lazarus reveals the ugliness in its people, carnal and brutal desires mingling with their own desperate need to belong in a world that wasn’t made for them. Everyone drinks from one another to survive. They feel victimized, even when they are acting as predators. Beautiful locations are simply thin distractions from the ugly underneath. The only real beauty in the world of Lazarus belongs to what is natural. Animals that live in their own environments, and the cycle of life and death. He also has an appreciation for history, old buildings, leather bags, trains and locations, but I would say this is more due to an empathy for the old.
There is a desperate wanting from Lazarus to depart the world but he is tethered to it by his stories and his body, and so he feels compelled to tell and re-tell until the light finally takes him away.
I'm reminded of the poem “Sailing to Byzantium” by William Butler Yeats
Yeats describes the agony of living on into old age, “fastened to a dying animal”.
The struggle of the artist who, without beauty and youth must
“Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,”
He decides that “this is no country for old men” and so departs from the world he knows to sail to Byzantium and have his body reforged into something beyond nature, so he might comment on “what is past, or passing, or to come.” forever.
I believe this captures the journey of Lazarus White, as he struggles to pass out of the brutal world of the play and into the light, leaving his stories behind to make comment on the world as he saw it.
Image by Monique Roy