Mister Baxter goes interactive
by Kate Fenton
Set in Toronto’s subway system, Mister Baxter is a new work I’ve written, which had a previous run at the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival.
One of the themes that emerged for me while writing the play was that of displacement. In the play, I look at displacement from a psychological perspective, as a sub-conscious defense mechanism. Often a character feels something or experiences something that they are unable to deal with and as a result they transfer that emotion on to another person in potentially harmful ways. In my experience, social crisis, conflict and trauma are endlessly displaced into sexuality, often resulting in a chain-reaction, with people unwittingly becoming both victims and perpetrators of displacement. In Mister Baxter, a teacher crosses an inappropriate boundary with one of his students and as a result many people are traumatized and left to deal with the aftermath of his actions.
As I continued to explore this theme, I thought it would be useful to hear what other people thought or experienced when struggling with displacement. The Bring the Buzz Festival at Theatre Passe Muraille, Which Mister Baxter is a part of, is dramaturgical in nature and we will be hosting a question and answer period and live discussion after every performance to encourage audience feedback about the play and the ideas it presents. To follow this interactive concept further, we came up with a campaign that we could create with our audience.
Photography is a beautiful art that captures a moment in time. In a photograph, the experience is frozen. Similarly, a traumatic experience can hold a person captive in a particular time or experience. The events that lead to that moment cannot be changed but what will happen after is what defines us and is what fascinates me most about being alive. There is no other art form that can distill a real and immediate experience in quite the same way as photography.
So here is what we did….
Photographers, artists and creative people were encouraged to submit up to three photos to The Quickening Theatre Photo Contest reflecting their experience of displacement. Their photos are posted on our website. A jury of professionals selected five winning photographs. Those photos are being used by Artist Mariuxi Zambrano to create an art installation that will transform the Mainspace to reflect ‘displacement’ in an interactive and compelling way.
Mariuxi has taken the winning photos and created a collaged image that will make up the walls of a tunnel structure that the audience will be encouraged to walk through on their way to their seats. The installation will be accompanied by a soundscape and live music performed by Melanie Brulee.
Winners will be announced at the Opening Night Art Gala.
Come, join us!
* click the images above to enlarge
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