Two bodies. One has been obliterated by a train and is scooped into a black carrier bag. The other fell through the ice of a frozen pond and lay cooling in the water for half an hour. They are both dead, but as Chris Thorpe and Jon Spooner explain over an hour of heart-restarting performance, one is more dead than the other.
Am I Dead Yet? explores the line between life and death, exploding the myth that it is fine and final, instead revealing it as a spectrum, or a permeable membrane. There is a difference between being dead and warm and dead and cold, and timely CPR can stretch out our precious final moments, retaining the viability of medical resurrection.
Thorpe and Spooner are a prodigious double-act, Thorpe the fierce, straight man against Spooner’s lighter, more professorial persona. They mosh to Motley Crue, blast out their own tunes, and improvise a finale that takes in their audience’s hopes and fears of finality. They educate their audience in proper chest compressions with the aid of the front of house manager, and look out into a future of eternal renewal for the rich and short, stunted lives for the poor.
This is more than the science of dying, it is the politics of living too; it is a rewiring of our conception of the one truly universal human experience. Well, universal for now.