Nelson may not have billboard lined freeways or a bunch of big chain stores fighting for our attention with aggressive advertising campaigns — but it can still be hard to avoid the influence of corporations telling us how to think and feel.
Marya Folinsbee is the local organizer of an interactive night of theatre called Corporations in our Heads, put on by Vancouver’s Theatre for the Living, which will explore a method to remove corporate messages from our collective psyche.
“We can feel far removed from corporate influence here in Nelson, but I think we’re all still carrying around lots of those beliefs and ideas about ourselves and our lives we see in advertising.”
Theatre for the Living will use theatre techniques and stories that emerge from the audience to start a conversation about these issues on stage.
After a short warm-up the audience will be asked to offer stories out of their own experiences in which they had to make a decision, and in that moment, they knew that the messages of corporations were affecting their choice in negative or unhealthy ways.
One story Folinsbee plans to share is about a time she was feeling down and found herself wandering through a grocery store looking for “comfort food” or something that she could purchase to improve her mood.
“I don’t know where the idea came from, but thought if I looked hard enough, I could just buy something that could make me happy,” Folinsbee recalled.
The audience will choose the narrative that resonates the most and that story is brought to life on the stage.
During the re-enactment, Theatre for the Living facilitator David Diamond will “freeze” the scene in a moment when the “corporate voices” appear to be present and ask an audience member to identify what the loudest voice is saying, and to come on stage and make a physical shape to represent that message.
If another audience member has an idea of how to disarm or evict a voice from “occupying” a space in our collective psyche, the audience member yells, “stop.” They then enter the playing area and, taking the place of a previous volunteer, try their idea.
Throughout the show, the audience will work through the voices one by one, peeling layers of complexity away as we go, exploring tactics to deal with the voices.
This may sound heavy, but it’s a great deal of fun. To take part, come to the Nelson Legion Hall (402 Victoria Street, second floor) on Friday, November 15 at 7 p.m.
Admission is $5 to $20, sliding scale.