Kim Solga, 15 November 2012

Our next London Theatre Seminar is 15 November, 6.30pm, in Room 246 (Senate House, second floor).

The speaker will be Kim Solga (Queen Mary, University of London):

Intimate Theatre, Intercultural Politics: Inside Theatre Replacement’s BIOBOXES

For the past three years I have been struggling to make sense of my reaction to BIOBOXES, Vancouver-based Theatre Replacement’s series of six one-on-one, bilingual monologues enacted by performers wearing set-piece boxes on their shoulders. Built on a series of interviews with immigrants to Canada completed by TR company members, BIOBOXES is unique not in its content but in its photo-booth-style, fully bilingual format, and my hunch is that this format holds particular power to unsettle the way Canadians watch so-called ‘multicultural’ performance, or at the very least to encourage spectators to reconsider the “what”, “who”, and “to whom” of multicultural address. By way of both personal reflections and critical inquiry, this paper will ask these central questions: how does the specific physical form of this work – related to the photo booth and puppet theatre on one hand, but also to the charged worlds of proscenium arch, diorama display, and automata performance on the other – impact audience reception? How does BIOBOXES in turn mobilize audience affect as a particularly fruitful site for political intervention as Canada continues to struggle with what it means to be one of the world’s most multicultural nations?

For images and video of BIOBOXES, see: and