Our collaboration comes from a shared desire to push at the boundaries of the theatrical form and mine the performative in everyday life. Each of us brings a wealth of experience making ensemble work – as writer, director, performer or designer, often playing more than one role on a given project. Playwright Aaron Landsman instigated City Council Meeting out of a desire to work in a theater after creating site-specifically since 2001. Mallory Catlett’s core mission as a director is to bring out and clarify the intents of her cohorts. Jim Findlay has led an ensemble, designed for internationally recognized artists and directed multimedia pieces of his own for 20 years.

Our work together prioritizes radical empathy and deep listening. We are inspired by ethnography, dissonance, awareness, and play. We are creating this piece through a process that depends on local engagement; as we do so we hope to integrate this way of making theater wherever City Council Meeting is presented.

During their Swing Space residency, Landsman and collaborators will develop City Council Meeting, which is performed participatory democracy – an interactive theater work with video in which performers and viewers make up the city council and citizenry of a fictional city that lives for one night only. Text is drawn from original writing, transcripts from over a dozen council meetings across the country and testimony from you, the viewer.

Image credit: courtesy of the artist