ITSAZOO: A Brief Manifesto by ITSAZOO’s Co-Artistic Director Sebastien Archibald
ITSAZOO is hard at work on a remount of Death of a Clown that will be happening at the University of Victoria from October 12-23. Returning to where we went to school has had us thinking about what we’ve done since that time and why we do what we do. Here’s a brief manifesto by Sebastien:
why political fare? Why non-traditional locations
‘Cuz we’re takin’ it back to the Ancient Greeks! They performed socially relevant plays, that were topical for the Athenian people, in outdoor amphitheaters. We do contemporary theatre in parks. It’s all about engaging the audience with what’s happening in society now and doing it in a public (i.e. neutral) setting. We’ve obviously come along way since the ancient Greeks used theatre to engage citizens with what was happening in their society. Mostly, theatre nowadays seems to offer dispensable entertainment akin to most film and television. Probably why arts funding is the first to be deemed “non-essential” and cut during “tough economic times”. Because most of our theatre is served up as trivial entertainment we are expendable. ITSAZOO wants to make theatre relevant again. We hope to accomplish this by doing theatre in non-traditional spaces (so far; parks, a bar, a parkade). These kind of theatre “happenings” appeal to a much younger, non-traditional theatre demographic.
So what are we doing with Death of a Clown, a black box show? Death of a Clown is ITSAZOO’s attempt at non-traditional traditional theatre. It’s a hilarious social satire that draws its influences from clowning (because who is better suited to mock and parody the foibles of society than a clown) and Brecht (a radical theatre artist who used traditional theatre space to do non-traditional work). Death of a Clown serves as both a comment on the artifice of corporate culture and the artifice of theatre itself. The clown offers a way to transcend both.