IN THE PAST FEW WEEKS, I've read a stellar novel, an amazingly detailed investigative piece, and now a shattering memoir about what happens when the machinery of fighting terrorism grinds innocents into victims. This subject is at the heart of Theatre Conspiracy's new play, Foreign Radical.Read More
Foreign Radical is a game so of course competition drives the piece. The heart of it, however, is something far more complex: the collective story of each audience that gathers to play.
Each show is radically different depending on who shows up. They leave the theatre (in this case, shipping containers) knowing each other quite intimately — for people who just met an hour before. They have profiled each other, spied on each other, debated in teams, raced each other to the finish line and shared some empathy or disdain.Read More
Foreign Radical is not a video game, board, or schoolyard sport. It’s a game that happens in a radical theatrical environment where your feet are your joystick and your thoughts and motivations are the buttons to take action. You can be in the driver’s seat of political activism, or take the nearest exit off the infobahn as you consider the repercussions of your public cries for freedom.Read More
If you attended Theatre Conspiracy’s previous documentary-style theatre show, Extraction, you might recall that the audience was asked a similar series of content-related survey questions throughout the performance. This time we’re taking questions into new territory through audience inclusion and significant consequences — Foreign Radical will concurrently operate as both a documentary theatre piece and an immersive game. As audience members, you are no longer observing, you are the players of the game.Read More
In her research for Foreign Radical, Kathleen read the book This Machine Kills Secrets and came across a party game that cryptographers played while inventing encryption techniques that would soon become industry standard (onion routing, torrents). These radicals were inventing the building blocks of secure communication, file sharing, e-commerce and, of course, whistle-blowing.
In the game, players wrote a secret on a piece of paper, put it in a sealed envelope and then routed the envelopes between individuals who either sought to maintain or expose the secret.
For Foreign Radical, we are adapting the game because it has great potential for theatrical application and audience interactivity:Read More
We’re all in the same boat, and as Leonard Cohen says, “everybody knows”.
If you’ve tuned into the news about cyberspace over the last couple of years, you realize we’re all being tracked, tagged, and titillated/distracted just enough to maintain the status quo. You’re still free to dismiss this as conspiracy but everyone knows that under the scrutiny of the puppeteers gerrymandering the Harpers, Obamas, Camerons and Merkels of the world, people displaying political agency outside the true party line are summarily placed in the ‘radical’ category and subjected to extraordinary surveillance and harassment.Read More
I’m a research addict — by profession.
Imagine all the news or scholarship, cartoons or rants about cyber surveillance, censorship and the military industrial complex/security apparatus, hacking, wikileaks, and paranoia — I’m dedicated to absorbing every crumb.
As dramaturg for Foreign Radical I have licence to listen to Glenn Greenwaldtalk about Edward Snowdon (“research”), try to wrap my head around how one enters a trap door in a computer program and snatches material (“working!”), read Jason Ng’s book “Blocked on Weibo” and watch videos on Egyptian graffiti (“really, working”). The trick is to avoid following only the conversations or intellectual paths I agree with.Read More
How soon until we think of privacy as just a product, rather than a right?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea since starting research on Foreign Radical. And I’ve been thinking more about it since seeing a photo of Obama in his privacy tent recently. When he’s on the road, the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility is set up in his hotel room, a special shield against the prying eyes and ears of oppressive regimes, allies, media and, probably, staff — all of whom have books to write upon leaving the White House.Read More