The Powerful Event
The Powerful Event was an interactive theatre piece by Holly Chappell and Tom Eason of Two Productions. “Our idea was to open the audience up through humour, oppress them until they wished to change the world of the show then give them opportunity to do so,” says Holly. “We allowed time and space afterwards to remove the NMG ponchos reflect and talk with the performers out of character. We are interested in asking how we can empower the young people of Christchurch to fight for what they want their world to be.”
Christchurch was in a time of redevelopment, decisions were being made and young people needed to be a part of that discussion. To put their ideas forward they needed to feel their voices had worth. This show encouraged innovation and initiative from its audience, not passivity and silence.
The first test season of The Powerful Event was on a vacant space in Christchurch and was constructed entirely out of shipping containers and covered fencing. The roots of this project began with a ten-show test season in Christchurch just before Christmas 2013. The premise was that the international corporation, Nouveau Monde Global, had arrived in Christchurch to capitalise on cheap real estate and to find participants in their latest initiative, ‘The Human Energy Program’.
The audience arrived at a press conference led by the two faces of the corporation, then quickly found themselves wearing NMG emblazoned plastic ponchos, separated into shipping containers and undergoing a rigorous group job interview process, where they were graded and divided based on skills. After a series of tests and physicals, being led between different containers and witnessing performative moments, they received their scores. The ‘generators’ were locked into a fenced in courtyard to power the NMG hyper-grid by bouncing a large, silver swiss ball into the air as a group. The ‘analysts’, watching through small eye holes in the fencing, counted arbitrary events such as “how many times the generating sphere touches the ground” and “how many times a generator wipes their forehead”. All the while the disillusioned Australasian Spokeswoman, Jane Chang, found suitable audience members to form a group of rebels to break the generators and analysts out of the now oppressive Human Energy Program. They infiltrate and mobilise the rest of the audience, overthrow the dictator type leader and bolt cutter their way to freedom.
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