TBD takes inspiration from the Bardo Thödol, or Liberation Through Hearing During The Intermediate State, known commonly as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. This traditional Buddhist text is an auditory guide to the process of dying and rebirth, and is sometimes referred to not only as a guide to dying but also a guide to living.
By asking people to install a free downloadable app on their smart phones, we'll be able to search for our audience and intervene in the lives—invisibly at first, shifting reality in subtle ways that may be indistinguishable from coincidence: your favourite fruit appears on your desk, someone plugs your meter, the barista compliments your new haircut. Taking place over seven weeks, these occurrences will emerge from the backdrop of daily life as portents — disorienting, but also exciting as they become increasingly personal and engaging: you find a wallet containing a message for you, an eloquent stranger shares a thought in a crosswalk, you pass a panhandler who calls your name. TBD will only occur with each participant’s full knowledge and consent, they may opt out of the experience at any time.
Thematically, the goal of the project is to explore the tension that our constant involvement with technology creates by shifting our personal boundaries, redefining social interaction, and by compressing exterior and interior experience into something like the liminal realm known as the 'bardo'. The Tibetan Book will serve both as a structural anchor for the creative team, and as a guide to the audience’s sensual and emotional experience, which lasts, like the bardo state, 49 days and nights.
Preliminary testing of the idea is complete and the Radix team is enormously excited about the discoveries so far. The idea works! And we've just been bolstered with additional support from the Canada Council's Inter-Arts Office. A two-week creative intensive will take place in June, and we'll follow that with a full 49 day prototype for a test audience beginning this September. We anticipate final production in Spring 2015. Donate to the project here.
Matthias Werder is a theatre artist from Zurich, Switzerland, visiting Vancouver with his family for a year. He's been working on a project with Radix Theatre that could be performed both here and Zurich. RANKING VANCOUVER (working title) is a site-specific play about apathy and action, reflected in the struggles of a man and his adopted daughter. The man is a middle-class art teacher at the Vancouver Community College while his daughter lives 'the rebel life' lives across the street at the Del Mar Hotel. The two fight about what they should do with their time and money in a performance that questions the relevance of art, personal responsibility, and the ability of creating change in today's world.