Attentiveness is a kind of escapism. Not a transcendent relief from the realities of life, but an emergency exit that leads us straight to the beating heart of those realities. Here, in this last minute, one final hard-on. The then Oxford Stage Company produces Sarah Kane’s Cleansed. On the night I see it, in the scene where Grace and her dead brother Graham make love, Garry Collins, the actor playing Graham, takes his clothes off and has an erection. In the midst of all this more-or-less honed performance, a moment of theatre: unsimulated, unironic, the clearest conceivable signal of desire. An escape into the real. // Thanks for being here this evening. Theatre, like the future, streams towards us, endlessly replenished. And here we all are, in a room named after that promise, and the deepest, most culturally urgent question that we face in facing each other in this moment is not, What do we want?, but Can we want? Can we want enough? Can we dare to trust the desire behind the desire? We breathe together through these final moments. My blood speaks to your blood. The dog is ticking.