If you’ve even been to the theatre, have you ever wondered what it might be like if a different set of actors played the parts? A director of a play often makes bold statements through the potent mix of writing, character and actors and how they physically show up on stage. So, what if it were an actor of a different race? Or one with a physical disability? What if it were a woman playing a man’s part? What would it be like to be able to change actors in a scene in order to show a different interpretation of that scene?
Scene Change is a digital media project that explores these questions. We delve into issues of representation, identity and meaning by allowing you, the viewer, with three different, important Canadian plays, to compare and contrast three different sets of actors.
In Unity (1918) by Kevin Kerr, we have a scene where young Hart shocks an even younger Bea with the brutal reality of war and its obvious impact on him. In Judith Thompson’s The Thrill, Elora, from the perspective of her wheelchair, and Julian, her supposed “enemy”, have a wonderful exchange that leads to unexpected results. Lastly, in Thomson Highway’s Dry Lips Ought to Move to Kapuskasing, men on a First Nations reserve protest an all-girl hockey team, seeing it as another assault on their identity, already under siege in Canada.
In Scene Change, identities of race, age, gender and dis/ability are mixed up to provide some perspective, and insight, on what makes a performance. In an online environment, this is obviously a very different experience than a real life theatre. For one, the experience changes from a publically shared experience with friends and family, to a one-on-one experience in front of your computer. What the online environment lacks in bodily social connection, we make up for with a unique opportunity. We give you the ability to change who performs, lending greater insight into how you make meaning from watching a play.
Co-Creators Katrina Dunn (Touchstone Theatre) and Phillip Djwa (Agentic Digital Media)