FLASHING LIGHTS

an Ahuri Theatre // Bad New Days co-production

FLASHING LIGHTS

A HIGH TECH FABLE ABOUT OUR DIGITAL LIVES

 

Co-Produced by Bad New Days & Ahuri Theatre
 

“IN THE FUTURE, EVERYONE WILL BE FAMOUS FOR 15 MINUTES.” – ANDY WARHOL

Created by award winning Bad New Days (The Double - which played at the Kingston Grand Theatre in 2014) and Ahuri Theatre (This is the Point), FLASHING LIGHTS is an original play exploring how digital technology is radically shaping human evolution.

FLASHING LIGHTS tells the tale of Peter (Dan Watson), an unremarkable guy who inexplicably becomes famous. His dizzying rise and fall effects everyone around him, in particular his family; his savvy wife Shannon (Miranda Calderon) and their child Ter (Liz Peterson). What starts off as a portrait of contemporary family life quickly unravels into a meditation on the borders between digital and physical existence and the future of this brave new world being created.

FLASHING LIGHTS combines a fantastical absurdist narrative with a highly physical theatrical style using technology like smart phones and tablets as puppets, masks, light, and sound sources. Drawing on the ideas of Marshall McLuhan, Sherry Turkle, Jean Baudrillard and other theorists, FLASHING LIGHTS speaks to the growing anxiety about the future and to the vertiginous feeling that time itself is speeding up. Will humankind’s frail, flesh and blood selves be able to keep up?

FLASHING LIGHTS was created collaboratively by award-winning theatre artists Adam Paolozza (Dora Award Spent & The Double), Guillermo Verdecchia (Governor General’s and Chalmers Award Winner), Ken MacKenzie (Kim’s Convenience, Brantwood), Dan Watson (This is the Point, Ralph + Lina), Liz Peterson (Performance About A Woman, Capitalist Love Duets) and Miranda Calderon (Butcher, Taking Care of Baby).

 

The original production of FLASHING LIGHTS was nominated for 8 Dora Awards: Outstanding Production, Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Lighting, Set and Costume Design, winning for Lighting Design. 

 

The touring production features performers Kari Pederson as TER and Christopher Sawchyn as PETER. 

ARTIST NOTES

Flashing Lights began as an exploration of the evolution of the photography and the ubiquity of images in our times.

 

Since then, the fundamental questions in our research shifted to the role of the screen in our lives in general, how it mediates our relationships, problematizes intimacy and how it becomes a site upon which we project desire and nostalgia. We thought about how technology thrives on acceleration and our common experience of the feeling that time itself is speeding up. We thought about the struggle to be in the present and how to develop a new relationship between our consciousness, our bodies and the future.

 

Many thanks to the whole Flashing Lights team for their collaborative brilliance.

 

And thank you for coming. We hope that the real meaning of the work will emerge from your encounter with it, and that it will continue to live on in your imagination.

 

-Adam Paolozza, Director/Co-Creator 

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Created by the Company with Text by Guillermo Verdecchia
Directed by Adam Paolozza
Originally Performed by Liz Peterson, Miranda Calderon, Dan Watson, Adam Paolozza & Guillermo Verdecchia

Touring Cast: Adam Paolozza, Christopher Sawchyn, Kari Pederson and Miranda Calderon 
Set, Costume & Lighting Design by Ken MacKenzie
Video Design by Melissa Joakim
Sound Design by Matt Smith
Stage Management by Dylan Tate-Howarth

ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES

 

Adam Paolozza is a Dora award winning Toronto based performer, director, writer, producer and arts educator. In 2008 he founded Bad New Days to produce his own projects, developing his vision of a Contemporary Poetic Theatre of Gesture. Bad New Days highlight include: Spent (Dora for Outstanding Ensemble); The Double, (7 Dora nominations, win for Lighting Design, remount at NAC); Paolozzapedia; Melancholiac: The Music of Scott Walker; Empire of Night; Italian Mime Suicide//Three Red Days (3 Dora nominations).  Adam is also an occasional instructor at the Soulpepper Academy, University of Toronto and Ryerson School for Performance. 

Miranda Calderon was last on stage as Elena in Nicolas Billon’s BUTCHER (Mirvish/Why Not Theatre). Recent stage credits include ITALIAN MIME SUICIDE//THREE RED DAYS (Theatre Centre/Bad New Days) and Dennis Kelly’s TAKING CARE OF BABY (Storefront Theatre), which she co-produced. On-camera work includes 11.22.63 (Hulu/J.J. Abrams), and with her company Midnight Snack Miranda has written, produced, and acted in two short films, ALEGRA & JIM and BODY PARTS (Telefilm’s ‘Not Short on Talent’ at Berlin International Film Festival). Miranda did her MFA at London International School of Performing Arts in the UK and her BA at Columbia University in New York.

 

Christopher Sawchyn is an award-winning international performer & triple threat, Christopher was a co-founder of Toronto's uber-edgy musical sketch co. THE SPECIALS. Currently, he's creating the 4th instalment of his vaudeville series Christopher Sawchyn Sings! A ballroom dance & arts educator, he has co-created/toured with physical theatre companies CANADIA DEL' ARTE, CORPUS, THE ALGOMA GROUP, and PENCIL KIT. Selected Stage: Amadeus (CanStage/Citadel); The Hobbit (Globe); Silverwing (MTYP); Children's Crusade (Luminato); Emily's Piano; Duel at Dawn (YPT) "Tom Thomson" in David Sereda's Tom (Roxy). Selected Film/TV credits: Dark Matter; Beauty & The Beast; Nikita; Queer As Folk; The Bridge; Mayday; Blood Empires

Kari Pederson is a Choreographer, Performer, Dramaturge and Producer based in Toronto. She is currently completing her Dance MFA research which challenges the ‘male genius’ and holds an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts Cultural Studies from York University and a certificate in Community Arts Practice. Kari has been working with Bad New Days since 2015. She was Associate Director and Dramaturge for Italian Mime Suicide and Three Red Days(2016), Co-Creator and Choreographer for Empire of Night (2016) and performed in Melancholiac (2015). Kari has also performed alongside Ame Henderson and Buck 65 (SummerWorks Music Series, 2012), Jordan Tannahill (The Magic, 2012), Anandam Dancetheatre (Glaciology, 2014-15), bluemouth inc.(Dance Marathon, 2009 and 2012), and Fixt Point Theatre (Tale of a Town, 2016-17). Kari’s experimental approach to dance creation has been recognized by the Canada Council for the Arts, Dancemakers Centre for Creation, The Toronto Dance Community Love In, Hub 14, Quote Unquote Theatre, and Series 8:08. Alongside her studies, Kari is currently developing an interactive installation called Nature Walk, set for the gallery.

Melissa Joakim holds a BFA Spec. Hon.s from York University. She is a nominee for a Dora Award in Lighting Design (Dance Division) and for a Pauline McGibbon Award (2017). Recent credits include: Lighting and Projection Design: This is the Point (Ahuri Theatre with Theatre Centre); A Side of Dreams (Paper Canoe Projects). Lighting Design: What Dream it was (Ahuri Theatre); The Whole Shebang: Taken by Night (Dreamwalker Dance); Chasse Galerie (Soulpepper with Red One Collective and Kabin). Projection Design: Alien Creature (Theatre Passe Muraille); Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Hart House Theatre).

Ken Mackenzie’s most recent design credits include the set for The 39 Steps (dir. Ravi Jain) as well as the set and lighting design for The Just (dir. Frank Cox O’connell) at Soulpepper. Ken was also the set and lighting designer for Spoon River as well as Kim’s Convenience. Ken is also one of the creators and original performers of Alligator Pie, also at Soulpepper. Ken’s last show at The Theatre Centre was the set and lighting designer for Why Not Theatre’s We are proud to Present...

Dylan Tate-Howarth is a theatre artist based in Toronto. She has worked as an assistant director and stage manager with Bad New Days, Pomme Grenade, ZOU Theatre, FixtPoint, and wheelwright theatre and as a production manager and stage manager with Jumblies Theatre and The AMY Project. 

Guillermo Verdecchia does not use Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. He has a website under permanent construction and a LinkedIn account apparently, though he's not sure how or why. Mostly, he emails. Guillermo looks forward to the end of fossil-fuel vehicles. In the nearer future, he looks forward to the Modern Times production of his play bloom at Buddies in Bad Times, and to playing Benjamin the donkey in Anthony MacMahon's adaptation of Animal Farm at Soulpepper, both in early 2018.

Matt Smith is a Toronto-based musician, sound engineer, recording studio builder, composer and dramaturg. Along with his dance music project Prince Nifty, Matt makes music for theatre and film, bars and clubs, headphones and all things between. Most recently he has collaborated on and composed music for Toronto Dance Theatre (Noisy, Marienbad), Dancemakers (Silver Venus), and Bad New Days (Empire of Night). Matt has produced and engineered recordings for Lido Pimenta, Bernice and Isla Craig, and is a long-time collaborator and band member with Owen Pallett.

Dan Watson is an award-winning creator and producer of theatre and events. He is Artistic Producer of Ahuri Theatre (This is the Point, What Dream it Was) and founder of Edge of the Woods Theatre (Nuit Blanche North, Ralph + Lina) in his home town of Huntsville. Dan also works in community engaged arts with a particular focus on collaborations with people of different abilities. Most importantly, he is a proud papa of 3 awesome kids Bruno, Ralph & Simone, and partners with one incredible human being Christina.

Guillermo Verdecchia does not use Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. He has a website under permanent construction and a LinkedIn account apparently, though he's not sure how or why. Mostly, he emails. Guillermo looks forward to the end of fossil-fuel vehicles. In the nearer future, he looks forward to the Modern Times production of his play bloom at Buddies in Bad Times, and to playing Benjamin the donkey in Anthony MacMahon's adaptation of Animal Farm at Soulpepper, both in early 2018.

Liz Peterson is a Toronto based performance-maker whose work is driven by questions of cultural and political belonging. Liz is currently an Associate Artist with Public Recordings and her work has been shown at festivals and galleries in Toronto, New York, Dublin, Barcelona and Santiago. Upcoming Liz will appear in Declarations by Jordan Tannahill at Canadian Stage, and a 2018 premiere of Borders(sín título), a new work made in collaboration with Barcelona based choreographer Marina Colomina, co-produced with Public Recordings.

SPECIAL MUSIC CREDITS

All original music written and performed by Matt Smith except Saxodrone. Saxodrone is a tenor saxophone improvisation by Colin Fisher with additional arrangements by Smith

Photos by Francesca Chudnoff www.madebyfranznfriends.com

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. University of Michigan Press, 1994. Print.

The Ecstasy of Communication. Semiotext(e), 2012. Print.

Berardi, Franco. After the Future. AK Press. 2011. Print.

Berger, John. About Looking. Pantheon Books. 1980. Print.

Bogost, Ian. Alien Phenomenology, Or, What It's Like to Be a Thing. University of Minnesota Press, 2012. Print.

Clark, Andy. Natural-born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence. Oxford University Press, 2003. Print.

Coates, Marcus. Journey to the Lower World. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAUWVKxiG2s . Accessed Oct 5, 2017. Web.

Colebrook, Claire. Death of the PostHuman: Essays On Extinction. Vol. 1. Open Humanities Press, 2014. Print.

Coole, Diana H, and Samantha Frost. New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics. Duke University Press, 2010. Print.

Debord, Guy, and Ken Knabb. Society of the Spectacle. London: Rebel Press, 2000. Print.

Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Continuum, 2004. Print.

Dennett, D C. Consciousness Explained. Little, Brown and Co, 1991. Print.

Greenfield, Adam. Radical technologies: the design of everyday life. Verso. 2017.

Fisher, Mark. Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?, Zero Books, 2009

Made Possible through the generous support of the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts