For the last 10 years, the Harbourfront Centre has been home to HATCH, an annual performing arts residency programme. This year, guest curators Aislinn Rose and Michael Wheeler have selected four pieces that integrate online technology. Up first is #legacy, conceived and directed by Rob Kempson, and co-created and performed by Joan Belford, Judith Dallimore, and Donna McCorquodale.
When asked about his inspiration for the project, Kempson remarked that: “it occurred to [him] that we have a new kind of legacy being built when it comes to the Internet, as we continually post and share images and text and ideas and articles about ourselves through various social media platforms every day. And this is kind of a new phenomenon for a generation that no longer even sees that as an action.”
Kempson’s co-creators are not of this new, social media-savvy generation. Each one of them is over 65, and was required to create and use a Twitter account while they worked on the show. Although their generation is stereotyped as being clueless when it comes to social media, Kempson remarked that: “they totally get it. They get how to use Twitter, and understand how it has the potential to be used.” Whether or not they think it is an effective way to create a legacy for one’s self is one of the topics discussed during the show.
When asked about the first conversation that Kempson had with his co-creators, he explained that: “[they] really sat down at Joan’s house, in her living room, with tea and crackers and cheese and basically just started asking questions about what a legacy is… What does this word really mean for [them]? [They] started talking about personal stories of legacies that had been left to [them]. [They] talked about legacies that [they] hoped to leave for others… working with older adults has allowed the concept of legacy to really have an urgency that otherwise it wouldn’t.”
The show is interactive; audience members are asked to “come and engage digitally. There will be Tweet seats reserved for those people who have smart phones and wish to Tweet during the show. And what happens during the show is that there’s a live script that’s being performed on stage, but there’s also a Twitter script the women have written that goes with the live script.” Audience members can Tweet in response to either what they are seeing live or the Tweets being sent out, and the women will be shown the responses live for the first time at one point in the show, and will be responding to them verbally.
In regards to whether Kempson thinks it is possible to leave a legacy without using social media, he responds: “absolutely… I would hate to think that the legacy I leave is what I leave on Twitter… In no case is a legacy ever replaced by technology or social media or this constant sharing that we love to do, but it can be altered by it, or enhanced by it even, or degraded by it.”
#legacy plays in the Studio Theatre at the York Quay Centre at 2 pm and 8 pm on April 12. Tickets $15. Follow the creators of #legacy @Rob_Kempson, @judith_dove, @Joan_Belford2 and @McCroq.
For more information, visit http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/hatch/legacy/.