"I wanted to die.
As preparation for Binge Culture’s 2013 Fringe show we ‘whale actors’ practised our pod movements, created our flippers, and selected our wetsuits. I was looking forward to swimming down Cuba Street in my pod before stranding on the waterfront until the help of rescuers would help us back into the ocean. What I hadn’t counted on was the jump into the sea being quite so high. So when a Binge member explained that some whales would have to die on shore outside Te Papa I volunteered with great speed, looking forward to some time spent lying on the deliciously warm concrete before playing out my tragic death. I took my demise seriously and staggered it with great care, raising my flippers with less and less energy until I lay still and ominously silent, smugly congratulating myself on avoiding such a terrifying jump into the icy ocean. It was then that I felt a small hand on my back and heard a young voice whisper ‘Don’t die, whale – I love you’. This tiny girl took it upon herself to save my life by throwing buckets of water on my helpless bulk and offering sing-song words of encouragement. I wondered wildly whether my dying could scar this child for life on some emotional level, and flailed miserably in indecision. Eventually the little girl’s mother, who had been watching with growing frustration from the sidelines as the other stranded creatures made their way to the water, suggested that it would be ‘unfair for the whale to die after getting such excellent medical treatment’. With a groan I struggled upright and followed my pod to the wharf, spurred on by the delighted squeals of my rescuer.
The jump was high, the water was cold, and my unexpected resurrection felt wonderful as I cavorted in the ocean with my fellow whales."