Wilms, wearing a cream-coloured three-piece suit, is billed in the program simply as Actor. There are moments when he seems to inhabit a character – perhaps a version of Canetti himself – but most of the time he is describing ideas, announcing them to us, confronting us with them.
The ideas are hypothetical, bizarre, utopian or dystopian, and frequently impossible, absurd or surreal: a society in which children are the executioners, to save the adults from getting blood on their hands. Often, they implicitly criticise societal values, or, by taking them to extremes, estrange the familiar – that is, allow us to see it from the outside. Each idea is self-contained, with a pause to allow it to take shape in our minds before the next one replaces it. The music does not fall away when the actor speaks; rather, music and speech compliment and counterpoint each other, the words buoyed up by, or cutting across, the dramatic flourishes and crescendos of the quartet.