About the Grant

$33,000 to support City Council Meeting (MAP 2011), an interactive theater work conceived, adapted, and written by Aaron Landsman.

About the Project

City Council Meeting is “performed participatory democracy.” The piece is being developed for a 2012¬–2013 premiere at HERE Arts Center in New York, New York, where Landsman is a HARP artist in residence. DiverseWorks Art Space in Houston, Texas, will present a local version of the piece following the premiere, with additional presenters pending.

When viewers arrive at the theater, they are given a choice as to whether they want to be commissioners, participants, respondents, or bystanders. The first three groups are oriented by a cast member and given a script, which they later perform. Bystanders are welcome to have another drink at the bar while these orientations take place.

Combining transcripts from local government meetings and Landsman’s original text, City Council Meeting simulates the procedures and power struggles of a government meeting—viewers become teenagers discovering their political voices, a mayor wants to keep things running smoothly, a citizen tries to clean the local Kids’ Zone and creates a public health hazard in the process. The performance displays the poetics of bureaucracy, the dissonance between catastrophe and protocol, and the spectacle of everyone trying to get along.

Related Websites

Aaron Landsman


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