Praxis Theatre is currently on hiatus! Please find co-founders Aislinn Rose and Michael Wheeler at The Theatre Centre and SpiderWebShow, respectively.
March 1, 2010, by

Section 98 – Open Source Entry #5 – I believe in the power… of you and I


Vancouver Poet Laureate Brad Cran on the Canadian Women’s hockey team’s post-game celebration.

by Aislinn Rose

The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games are over, and although there was some protesting and censoring, it seems to have come off as a relatively controversy free affair. For this creative process we’ve been keeping an eye on things ever since we first heard about “free speech zones“, and rights activists being detained on both sides of our border.  We are, after all, building a show about civil liberties in Canada, which leaves room in each iteration for pressing civil rights issues at the time of each production to be addressed within the context of similarly difficult moments in the history of our country.

We became interested in these stories about activists being detained at the Canadian/US border, and then I came across a piece by Vancouver Poet Laureate, Brad Cran who, incidentally, declined to participate in the Cultural Olympiad due to rules he believed muzzled free speech.  In his piece entitled “2010 Handbook for Entering Canada”, Cran takes a look at these border crossings from the perspective of the border guard.  Sort of.

In an effort to stay true to this concept of “Open Source”, I am reaching out to you for contributions to the “source code” of Section 98.  That’s right.  I want you to read Brad Cran’s piece below, and then send us what you think we should do with it.  It can be in script format, or just in the form of a completed idea or concept. You can email all of this to the “info” address at the top right of the website if you’re the shy type or leave it as a comment below!

Our creative process has evolved a lot at Praxis Theatre – evolving from working exclusively with text-based tools to create new work, to also incorporating and  experimenting with ideas and using the workshop process to develop them into theatre.  You’ll see the results of those recent efforts on March 13th at our work in progress HATCH presentation.  (Did I mention tickets are on sale now?  No?  Tickets are on sale now.)

Please take the time to read the Handbook below, and then send us whatever comes to you.  How might you put this story, this issue on stage?  How would you make it theatrical?  Have you considered how it might fit into a show that is also covering civil rights issues of the 1930s and 1970s?  In keeping with things open source, we may incorporate your contribution into our presentation (so be forwarned), we may save it for a later iteration, or we may determine that it doesn’t fit into what we’re developing.  Either way, you’ll be acknowledged, credited, and thanked appropriately.

Without further ado, here it is: Brad Cran’s…

2010 Handbook for Entering Canada

For Howard White

Are you bring­ing any fruits or veg­eta­bles into Canada?

Have you vis­ited a farm in the last 30 days?

Are you now or have you ever been a mem­ber of a group that dis­agreed with government?

Do you intend to ride the zip line?

Do you approve of prod­uct place­ment in movies?

Do you like my uniform?

Are you bring­ing into Canada any cur­rency and/or mon­e­tary instru­ments of a value totalling CAN$10,000 or more per person?

Have you ever assaulted a police offi­cer with a stapler?

In describ­ing my uni­form, would you say that it a) inspires respect or b) breeds contempt?

Have you ever dreamed of shoot­ing a fas­cist dic­ta­tor off a Spanish balcony?

Do you approve of John Furlong?

Can you give me an exam­ple of the words in your head and how they might be used while in Canada?

Do you vote?

Are you now or have you ever been a per­son who car­ries MasterCard?

Were you aware of the Oka upris­ing, and if so, whose side were you on?

Remind me again about the zip line.

Do you read poetry?

Do you believe in home­less­ness as a right of the people?

If you were Canadian, and if it were pos­si­ble to do so, would you vote for John Furlong?

Does the colour of your socks match the colour of your pants?

Do your chil­dren own an effigy, stuffed or oth­er­wise, of the Olympic mascot?

Our pre­mier rode the zip line. Did you see that? It looks awesome.

Please arrange the fol­low­ing terms in order of pref­er­ence, start­ing with the least impor­tant: Health Care, Education, the Environment, Homelessness, Logo Placement at Sporting Events.

Do you now or have you ever owned a copy of Raffi’s Baby Beluga?

Do you own a cell phone?

Are you car­ry­ing any printed mat­ter that illus­trates same-sex love?

Are you bring­ing into Canada any firearms or other weapons?

Did you know that each year, more Canadians trust RBC Royal Bank® for their mort­gage solu­tions than any other provider?

What is the total mon­e­tary value of the goods you will be leav­ing in Canada?

Let’s go back to my uni­form for a minute, you gotta admit it’s pretty fuck­ing awesome.

Do you or have you ever lis­tened to Democracy Now?

Can you fin­ish the fol­low­ing sen­tence? Baby bel­uga in the deep blue ______________.

What colour is your heart?

Do you believe in global warming?

Have you ever pur­chased No Name brand prod­ucts? You know, the ugly yel­low ones?

If while in Canada you were tasered, would you be upset or go into car­diac arrest?

Do you sup­port an inter­na­tional unelected and roam­ing fourth tier of gov­ern­ment as set out by a non-existent char­ter of the

If your gov­ern­ment acted against the prin­ci­ples of democ­racy, would you be com­pelled to action or would you just tell your
friends you are miffed?

Do you ever expe­ri­ence emo­tions stronger than miffment?

If some­one you knew spoke up against your gov­ern­ment, would you a) lis­ten or b) think that was a lit­tle weird?

Which of the fol­low­ing does not fit? Osama bin Laden, Louis Riel, Chris Shaw, Gordon Campbell.

When asked, will you keep the flow of traf­fic mov­ing smoothly?

How long will you be staying?

*                                                           *                                                         *

I should tell you there’s a lot of interesting stuff to read on Cran’s Poet Laureate site, including his take on Shane Koyczan, the slam poet featured in Vancouver’s Opening Ceremonies.  Here’s Koyczan performing “We Are More” in 2007.

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  1. Michael says:

    Wow. I really love this post.

    2 things:

    Aislinn, you are doing a great job!

    Brad, thanks for letting your poetry be open-sourced too. Three cheers for cross-country collaboration through new technologies.

  2. Jacob Zimmer says:

    Very nice handbook.

    Reminds me of hearing that a question on the EU or maybe German citizenship form was the question:”What cultural event occurs every five years in Kassel?”
    In 2 minutes of internet level research I can’t confirm – but heard from a reliable source.

    Also from the same source:
    a poem by Brecht:

    THE DEMOCRATIC JUDGEIn Los Angeles, before the judge who examines people
    Trying to become citizens of the United States
    Came an Italian restaurant keeper. After grave preparations
    Hindered, though, by his ignorance of the new languageIn the test he replied to the question:
    What is the 8th Amendment? falteringly:
    1492. Since the law demands that applicants know the language
    He was refused. Returning
    After three months spent on further studies
    Yet hindered still by ignorance of the new language
    He was confronted with the question:
    Who was The victorious general in the Civil War?  His answer was:
    1492. (Given amiably, in a loud voice). Sent away again
    And returning a third time, he answered
    A third question: For how long a term are our Presidents elected? Once more with: 1492. Now
    The judge, who liked the man, realised he could not
    Learn the new language, asked him
    How he earned his living and was told: by hard work. And so
    At his fourth appearance the judge gave him the questions:
    Was America discovered? And on the strength of his correctly answering
    1492, he was granted his citizenship.

    Staging wise – I think it’s a nice handbook – and maybe nice to hear out loud – I’m not sure I want to see it acted.

    or just make a test to pass before the show for the audience (which then means some have to be denied)

    (answer to the EU question: documenta:

  3. Nancy Kenny says:

    That is hilarious! I want to perform that!

  4. Aislinn says:

    I’m glad you’re all enjoying the post and Brad’s work. Jacob, I really like that idea of an audience entry test. Perhaps we can ask all those wearing red the really tough questions.

  5. pagno says:

    (Pardon faltered terms, esp. in regards to lights).

    The company dispersed onstage facing various directions. As they start reciting the dialogue, the company begins stylized movement similar to a North Korean Traffic Director (not because I mean to suggest North Korea, only to give an example of the type of movement I’m talking about):
    Eventually one actor becomes separate from the chorus having ‘North Korean Traffic Directed’ himself centre stage. When he arrives at centre, he stops the North Korean Traffic Directing and very slowly starts to turn on the spot, arms at sides, eyes at natural eye level, head moving naturally with the body. The company is gradually moving in on him with their stylized movement. As they draw nearer, his spinning gradually gets faster as his hands approach his ears, his eyes squint (as in ‘I can’t stand the noise or sight’), his body cringes forward. As the company reaches their final position around him, he completes the tableaux facing the audience. Eyes pop open WIDE, still cringing with the body, a second or two of silence then black.

    -The dialogue begins as a stage whisper and crescendos to loud shouting.
    -The dialogue is shared in a choral format so some lines are spoken by only one person at a time and some are spoken in unison. Some lines are divided between these two options.
    -The actors are vocally rehearsed to place emphasis in very particular places so to draw out the accusatory tone. Also to aid this, the tone becomes increasingly bizarre with dramatic pitch variations. A vocal kangaroo court.

    -Each actor of the company uses a different front for their movement to emphasize a feeling of organized chaos.
    -Obviously the movement has to be very sharp, clean, crisp, otherwise the whole thing will look sloppy, ineffectual, etc.
    -The movement gradually becomes faster as the dialogue unravels.
    -Obviously, the stylized movement must be such that it gradully brings the company centre stage.

    -All lights used are hung above the actors/ over the stage.
    -At the start, there is one white light centre stage with no one in it. The edge of this light is soft, at a low level maybe 30%, ie: a diffused circle.
    -As the dialogue and movement begin, more strongly directed white lights (maybe 3 or 4 max) come up from overhead, alla searchlights (movement of lights obvs. depends on their capacities), at about 60%.
    -As the company encroaches on the individual, the lights all point centre on the individual, gradually intensifying to 100%. One final ‘spotlight’ on the man, centre stage at 100%, with much stronger edges than at the top of the scene, before black.

  6. Aislinn says:

    This is really interesting pagno… thanks for submitting! I particularly enjoyed the movements of the North Korean traffic women in the video you linked. We may actually be able to find another use for that elsewhere in Section 98.

    As a side note, given how much everyone has been enjoying Brad’s piece in this entry, I wanted to make sure that everyone knew that his work can be found published by Geist Magazine, and 2010 Handbook for Entering Canada can be found on their website here:


  7. Alison says:

    1. I second Jacob’s idea about an audience entry test. Consider making this a taste test.

    2. I would also like to see a miffed performance of Baby Beluga performed on stage. And a revolutionary performance of The Cat Came Back. And a riot during the Today’s Special theme song. And an overthrowing of government using that Quartermaster’s Store song. Harper had better watch out for those bears buying underwears. In short, I would like you to change the world as we know it by singing beloved childhood anthems.

    3. Is there any way that the audience could zipline into the theatre? Because that would automatically make anything my most favourite show ever.

  8. […] pretty much follow what I’ve been up to with Praxis Theatre on Twitter, in Aislinn’s open source posts, and now on You Tube, I thought I’d share a bit more about my experience so far […]