Photo by Tim Matheson.
Sometimes the things which motivate us to think, believe, and act aren’t visible, but concealed away in our subconscious minds. And because we can’t always see those causes directly, we can’t unearth them and hold them in our hands. Corporations in our Heads invites us to expose the hidden messages which govern our lives and bring them to light.
Corporations in our Heads is the latest installment in Theatre for Living’s 32-year legacy of innovative, thought-provoking theatre, and appropriately dubbed: theatre without a net. No actors. No play. No script. The dialogue which occurs each evening is spontaneous and completely determined by the audience in the room.
Facilitated by artistic director David Diamond, Corporations in our Heads is an exciting and experimental project that aims to investigate how the messages from corporations have constrained our individual and collective psyche, and from there, inspire transformative action.
“In each evening, all there is in the room is all of us present, and our relationships with corporate messaging,” says Diamond. “We have an opportunity each night to speak the language of the theatre. That’s a language that belongs to all of humanity.”
While taking the production on tour through B.C. and Alberta, Diamond has had to adjust and adapt his approach in the way he facilitates the discourse.
“As we’ve travelled, the events themselves have deepened. While the stories are anchored in very personal, human moments, out of those moments we also get to talk about really much larger issues,” he says. “All across Northern B.C. for instance, the [Enbridge] pipeline issue is very present.”
For Diamond, the discoveries stemming from these conversations are profound: “We’re talking about human relationships right now; let’s not forget that we also have a relationship with water.
We need to stop thinking that we have the right to clean water—that idea is hurting us. What we have is a relationship with clean water, and because of that relationship we have a responsibility to clean water. We have responsibilities to each other. Our activism is different if we have a responsibility.”
Diamond maintains that Corporations in our Heads isn’t about demonizing corporations, it’s about finding “ways to change our own relationships to the corporate messaging” and become less isolated by coming together as a community.
So how does Corporations in our Heads free our minds in ways which being purely a spectator could not?
“Staged productions tend to deliver an answer somehow,” explains Diamond. “A traditionally staged production would put the audience in the role of consumer, which is precisely the pattern we’re trying to break. So it made no sense for this to be a play. The content of [Corporations in our Heads] demands that the audience be a participant, not a consumer.
“The theatre is very powerful in dealing with human relations. The theatre can help us gain a perspective on how we are being dehumanized.”
Corporations in our Heads rounds out its tour in Vancouver from December 4–8. Audience participation is voluntary: come and watch, or be a part of the conversation. For showtimes, tickets and venue information, visit HeadlineTheatre.com.