What is Section 98?
Section 98 is an open-sourced, interactive, work-in-progress that uses performance and technology to explore and debate individual and civil rights in Canada. The production invites the audience to participate in the production with their cell phone or PDA during the presentation, and online before or afterwards.A work-in-progress presentation of this work will occur in the Studio Theatre at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto on March 13th at 8pm at part of the HATCH program.
Praxis Theatre’s “Open Source Theatre” project has gone live! In this first entry, “What a tangled web we weave”, I’ve introduced our concept of “open source” to let you know that we plan to share our process, and our materials with you as they develop. The first step in Section 98’s development process was to figure out the gaps in our knowledge, or, as our Dramaturg Alex Fallis suggests, “how ignorant are we?”. Here you’ll be able to see how we went about creating a visual representation of what we didn’t yet know, and the kinds of questions that our continuing research have been raising. We need your feedback, your advice, and to hear whether or not our processes might help you with yours. We look forward to the dialogue.
Praxis Theatre’s Section 98 performer/creator Melissa Hood is the star of our second Open Source Theatre entry. Her interactive research presentation, entitled “The Peeps, the Perps, the Parties, and the Mugshots” forced us to work together to uncover just how much we did and didn’t know when it came to the FLQ and the October Crisis of 1970. Here you’ll see the results of our putting the pieces of the puzzle together in a network of colour-coordinated names, “mugshots”, bios, parties and organisations. As we continue to explore these human beings at the centre of this conflict, we find ourselves always debating, but never answering the question, “when is violence an acceptable means to an end?”.
More than 5000 people greeted him upon arrival at Union Station. Men shouted his name, women swooned, and some even reached out to touch the hem of his coat as he walked past. Later he greeted a capacity audience at Maple Leaf Gardens (after 3000 others were turned away at the gate). Who are we talking about? Why, Tim Buck of course… Canada’s most celebrated Communist! (And avowed Stalinist.) Check out the lyrics to our song that won’t make the show, but with hyperlinks to everything you need to know.
In my fourth Open Source Theatre entry I’ve highlighted Amnesty International’s “Wake Up Humans” campaign. Is it effective in its aim to wake up our consciousness to the daily need to fight for civil rights? How can it inspire Praxis Theatre in our goals to “explore and debate individual and civil rights in Canada”? Are Rage Against the Machine the authors of one of the greatest albums of all time? Join the debate!
So the beginning of our HATCH residency is a week away, and 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 “2010 Handbook for Entering Canada”, which you’ll find in this week’s Open Source Theatre entry, 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 at the end of the post. Can’t wait to hear from you!
On February 24th, I woke up to find an email from Section 98’s director Michael Wheeler, saying “have you been following my conversation with Omar Khadr?”. You see, a week earlier I had written an entry called Checking for a Pulse, which detailed an Amnesty International Human Rights campaign called “Wake up, Humans!”, and in the post I had dared to suggest that if one is going to support human rights and civil liberties, then one must do so in all cases, and then I said it was time to bring Omar Khadr home. Suddenly, “Omar Khadr” had a lot to say about this in our comments section… only, it wasn’t Omar Khadr, just someone appropriating his name and commenting anonymously. I had a pretty strong reaction to this “debate”, so in this post I tell you all about it, and I put these questions to you: what do you do when your work is the catalyst for these sorts of comments? How do you react? What’s the next step?
Day Three of HATCH at the Harbourfront Centre Studio Theatre, and we’re here preparing for our work-in-progress presentation of Section 98. Some of you are familiar with the nature of “Tech Day”, but part of the purpose of our Open Source Theatre project is to reach a wider, non-theatre going audience… so for those of you who are not familiar with tech days, we’ve created an amazing little video for you, that I like to call “Tech Day in 2 Minutes or Less”. And if you are a non-theatre goer… we want to know why. Leave us a comment to tell us why you don’t go to the theatre, and we’ll give you a free ticket to our show on Saturday!
It’s our Dress Rehearsal! Let us know what you’re thinking… while you’re thinking it!
Praxis Theatre’s one-night-only workshop presentation of Section 98 is finally here. Do you have your tickets yet? Last night we had an invite-only dress rehearsal, and we learned a lot. In particular, after all these years of audiences being told to turn their cell phones off, we’re finding it a bit of a challenge to encourage you not only to leave them on, but to actually put them to use during the show. So we’re hoping to see you and your cell phones at the Harbourfront Centre tonight at 8pm.
Check out Praxis Theatre’s Co-Artistic Director Michael Wheeler talking to Harbourfront about our “Open Source” show, and why you need to bring your phones. See you tonight!
We invited our audience to text us their thoughts, ideas and questions during the HATCH workshop presentation on Saturday, March 13th, and then we posted them directly to our blog. Check out the discussion!
It’s been a few weeks since our HATCH presentation and we’re still sorting through the feedback. In an effort to open ourselves up to our community, we recorded our process online and encouraged audience members to text us during the show with the texts posted live to our blog throughout the presentation, and we asked our audience members to continue sending us their feedback after they’d gone home and had a chance to reflect. Some chose to return to our blog with that feedback, and others emailed us or sent messages via Facebook.
Here’s our best attempt to provide an unbiased overview of the synthesis of this feedback under the major categories it addressed.
What does Open Source mean?
“Open Source”, as it relates to software, is “an approach to the design, development, and distribution of software, offering practical accessibility to a software’s source code”. You may be using Open Source software to view this information right now – the popular web browser Firefox is an example of Open Source software, and its source code is shared online for free. Wikipedia is often pointed to as a model of Open Source principles, as it is free to use and invites participation by users.
More recently, the term has taken on a broader definition in order to describe any effort to decentralize information or technology so that it can be used by anyone.
What is Open Source Theatre?
Section 98 investigates complex issues concerning civil rights in Canada. These issues require discussion and debate as none of it is black and white – we are navigating a vast sea of grey. As with the proponents of Open Source projects, we believe that an open and collaborative process is critical to creating work that seeks to engage an audience to consider these issues. This webpage provides a new way for audience to interact with an artistic product that is actively examining a complicated and layered issue.
This is the page where we provide the “source code” of Section 98. On this website, you will have access to our artistic process and the material as it develops – as well as anything else we think you’ll find relevant to our audience and this project. We’ll be looking for your feedback as we continue to develop the show. It’s also where you’ll be able to interact with our project before and after its public presentations.
We invite you to join us in our creation process and we hope to make it interesting and stimulating for everyone involved!
How is Section 98 being created?
This show is a collective collaborative creation with all members of the creative team contributing to the process. That being said, we all have specific roles:
Director: Michael Wheeler
Assistant Director: Laura Nordin
Script Supervisor & Open Source Project Leader: Aislinn Rose
Dramaturg: Alex Fallis
Sound Design, Lighting Design and Stage Management: Verne Good
Stage Coordinator: Brittney Filek Gibson
Performers: Margaret Evans, Alex Fallis, Melissa Hood, Greta Papageorgiu and David Tompa.
Open Source Project Funding for Aislinn Rose through the Creators’ Reserve program.