Instructions towards an uncertain Future
(Upcoming for touring in 2018)
‘‘There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada. There are shared values — openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, to search for equality and justice. Those qualities are what make us the first postnational state.’’
– Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the New York Times, 2015
Following on from the success of pieces like White Rabbit Red Rabbit and Rimini Protocol’s 100% project, British/Canadian artist Deborah Pearson and Canadian company Volcano are working with students from York University to create an instruction-based touring production – Post National. Instruction-based work is work in which performers have not seen a script or been in significant rehearsals before they first step on stage. In these pieces, the audience watch performers react live to a series of instructions and carry out a series of tasks, which then culminate in a performance.
Volcano are working with York University students to devise the script, set and flow of the piece. The students are a very diverse group, with heritage from the Caribbean, Bosnia, Korea, India, Iran, the UK, South Africa and elsewhere but they all, to some extent, identify as Canadian.
The tag-line for Post National is “Instructions towards an uncertain Future.” Post National will be made up of tasks and instructions that explore the idea of Post-Nationalism – what it looks like now, (wherever the piece is being performed, be that Canada or another country), and what this group of young people feel it could look like in the future. Historically, university students have been the bastions of political change. Deborah Pearson and Volcano will work with the devisers of the piece to see what this generation of students’ attitude towards political change looks like today, and to explore the post-national approach shared by many Canadians with a national and international audience.
Deborah Pearson is working with Toronto-based company Volcano to make the piece in Toronto. Volcano’s team for this project are artistic director Ross Manson, who will work with a set designer and with the students to envisage the staging of such a piece and to feed into the dramaturgical structure, choreographer Kate Alton, who will focus on creating instructions for the physical element of the piece, working with the students to create simple but meaningful physical tasks and instructions to be carried out live on stage. Ross Manson did dramaturgy for the hugely successful instruction-based piece White Rabbit Red Rabbit, and Deborah Pearson has created her own instruction-based work in the UK, while also producing many works of this kind through her UK-based company Forest Fringe.
Post National is a joint project between Deborah Pearson, Volcano and York University.