Heterotopia

IMG_3138Together with Award wining playwright, Ned Dickens, Drama, physics and engineering students started with the concepts of ‘Time’, ‘Education’ and ‘Social Progress’. I had been inspired by Peter Hoeg’s book, Borderliners, in which three dysfunctional children see their school through different eyes. They see the control of time. Lessons in blocks of time, separated by a bell. Children learning, from an early age, to sit and be controlled for hour, after hour. In preparation for a life of compliance. Ned Dickens and I got together and issued a very vague invitation to students at Queens entitled ‘Its about Time’ – to work in an experimental way on a co-creation writing process. ‘There will be a production’, we said. But we had no idea what form that would take. Students who were creative enough to respond to that invitation emerged from drama, education, physics and engineering. They formed a solid team that worked throughout the fall term in weekly workshops hosted by Ned. In between workshops the team blogged.

We allowed our minds to fly in and out of stories about time and quantum mechanics, social progress and language. The blog enabled physics students to teach drama students about quantum mechanics, to share ideas, pictures, dreams and patterns but most of all to write a play. The question we were working with was ‘what would happen if we lost track of time….?’ Each in their own space and time wrote their thoughts into hyperspace, never knowing who would respond or when…. This incredibly original approach to playwriting was just the beginning. When we cast the play, more actors joined the team to develop the rough frame into a workable play. When we discovered that Foucault had written about a space just like ours and all the details fitted exactly – we couldn’t resist the totally inaccessible title, Heterotopia, a place where time and space are altered, that you enter with a sort of permission or perhaps it’s a form of punishment…..

Performances were held in the Integrated Learning Centre Sept. 2006

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