Courtesy of Intercultural Theatre Institute
When I first found out about the premise of RevoLOOtion, a production presented by the graduating cohort of the Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI), I was most intrigued by there being a workshop element which will explicitly require audience participation.
With safe distancing measures still in place, the premise seems to be intentionally going against the current. Could there be a radical re-conception of what constitutes as audience participation?
Following my interview with the cast of RevoLOOtion, I contacted the director, Li Xie, to find out more about her inspiration and process.
There seems to be a toilet theme in the show. Could you give us more clues about what the show is about, and how does the theme relate to oppression?
The toilet can be seen as a basic right, it can also be symbolic.
When something that matters to you is taken away by force, what can we do as a community?
What inspired you to create this piece?
Sometimes it is clear where the external oppression lies, but it is important to understand what breaks us down internally as a community.
Only when that is achieved will social change be possible, and we can then gather as a community guided by unity, tolerance, and non-violence.
What are some of the challenges in creating a workshop element, which requires audience participation in the midst of the pandemic? Has this given you new perspectives on audience participation?
The audience is always participating, even when they are silently watching a performance. They participate in their own reflective and mysterious ways, even in silence.
In the workshop, we want to experiment with verbal, physical and communal participation. However, with the pandemic and social distancing, it’s both challenging and intriguing. They can’t leave their seats, mingle freely with other audience members, move and execute the actions they wish to do, or physically immerse themselves in the scenes with the characters.
But deep down, is there an urge to express and take action because you witnessed an injustice? That’s our challenge. How do we fulfil and externalise that urge to address it physically without moving? How do they break the silence and empower others too? How do they work as a community when their actions affect others?
There are many ways to be heard, to act, to impact, to change, to disobey, to negotiate, to suggest and to resolve, no matter how suppressed the circumstances are.
We must find a way out together, against the odds.
RevoLOOtion runs from 29 April to 1 May 2021 at Goodman Arts Centre Black Box.
Tickets from Peatix.