Observations on Civility from our Assistant Director, Coleen MacPherson
For me, working on Civility has been an experiment in slowing down. In this age a city is not designed for slow, methodical contemplation; but is ultimately an epicentre for rapid growth, wealth and development. To live here, in Toronto, can feel like a whirlwind of work and appointments; spiraling us into the routine of the day-to-day without a chance to step back and ask the bigger questions about where we live. It is through theatre that we can step back and attempt to see what is really going on.
Over the past five weeks I have been observing our city come to life in the rehearsal room with Daniel and the team. The work has deliciously erupted into hours and hours of material that reflect the myriad of voices and complex multiplicities that exist in the city of Toronto. In particular we have dug into the entertaining world of City Council and the 44 personalities and Mayor that represent us, making decisions on our behalf … their distinct culture might just be “the best show in town!” (as Julie Fox put it so perfectly).
Beginning with ourselves and the question of how we all carry meaning and using Council as a form, we’ve looked at the politics of buying property, the complex risk of making real contact with an individual, the complexity of how money moves, community centres closing, civic workers, hip-hop culture, the ever-present debate of the TTC, to name only a few … At the core of this research is the Budget Deputations from December 2011, where over 300 citizens of Toronto gathered at City Hall to speak to council about the city’s proposed budget. It was through hearing these voices, that the bigger picture for me came alive.
Civility is a performance that invites audiences into our version of Toronto City Council and attempts to slow things down a bit…