In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Foreign Radical
  • Tim Carlson, Jeremy Waller, David Mesiha, Kathleen Flaherty, Milton Lim, Aryo Khakpour, Florence Barrett, and Cande Andrade

[End Page 57]


Capacity is held to thirty people, which allows for an intimate dynamic between participants to build over the course of the show and also for the benefit of The Host, who needs to manage the audience through sometimes a great deal of improvisation and still aim for a running time of about seventy-five minutes. Through both physical and verbal responses, the audience contributes a significant proportion of the material in each show. The game (or participatory) elements allow for degrees of both agency and randomness to set the outcome of the piece.

Production History

In-process workshops and showings at Black Plastic (Vancouver), University of Toronto Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, The Cultch (Vancouver), Your Kontinent Film & Multimedia Festival (Richmond, BC), and Banff" Centre, 2013–2015. Premiere at The Cultch, May 2015. Presentations at Studio 1398 (Vancouver, February 2017), Carrefour international de théâtre (Quebec, June 2017), Canada Hub (Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 2017), and High Performance Rodeo (Calgary, January 2018). Developed in association with Playwrights Theatre Centre, Banff Centre, and The Cultch, Vancouver.

Original Cast

Hesam Aryo Khakpour
The Host Milton Lim
Voice Kathleen Flaherty

Production Artists

Writer/Researcher/Producer Tim Carlson
Director Jeremy Waller
Dramaturge Kathleen Flaherty
Music Composer, Sound Designer, Live Camera Operater, Technical Director David Mesiha
Video Designer, Live Camera Operater Cande Andrade
Lighting Designer Kyla Gardiner
Stage Manager Florence Barrett


A black-box theatre divided into four equal-sized quadrants (Areas A, B, C, and D). Each quadrant needs to accommodate thirty participants, who are active throughout the show. There is access between the quadrants in the middle of the space. Scrim (also used as a projection surface) divides Areas A and B. Semi-transparent plastic divides Areas A and D. Black fabric divides Areas A and D as well as Areas C and D (this one is hung on a traveller). There are also white projection surfaces in Areas C and D. Pan-tilt surveillance cameras, operated from the booth, hang in Areas A and D. The stage manager, live video operator, and sound operator call the show via another surveillance monitor showing each of the four quadrants. As participants enter the theatre, they are each given two cards that are yellow on one side and red on the other.


Hesam, an Iranian-Canadian man. The role and text, both spoken and projected, can be adapted to other commonly politically profiled identities.

The Host, can be gender and age Quid and must have excellent physical comedy and improv skills. The Host is referred to as male in this script to refiect this production. Movement is highly stylized, riffing on game show host or MC mannerisms.

Voice, varies between journalistic (when delivering documentary material) and bureaucratic (when giving direction).

Notes on the Text

There should be firm fidelity to the text, allowing, however, for the circumstances of each show to be managed through The Host's improv and within Hesam's interview of participants at the end.

About the Creators

Theatre Conspiracy is known for creating innovative forms of documentary, participatory, immersive, and often multilingual work exploring emerging trends in politics, society, and culture. Recent work includes Foreign Radical, Extraction, and the forthcoming Victim Impact. Co-founded by current artistic producer Tim Carlson and Richard Wolfe in 1995, the company also founded Club PuSh with the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, co-commissioning over twenty new works for the Club between 2009 and 2016. [End Page 58]

Scene One: Hesam Position 1

(Silence. The audience enters the dimly lit Area D, where they are in uncomfortably close proximity to Hesam. He is standing naked, leaning over and gripping a steel table, awaiting a cavity search.)

Voice: Welcome to Area One.

(A title appears on the scrim, first in Farsi, then in Arabic, and, finally, in English.

Lights fade up in Area C when the first participant makes a move.)

(Projection: [In Farsi].

Take a look around. How many others can read this? Just you? And perhaps the man leaning on the table?

Most everyone else assumes this...


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