Happy Birthday SpiderWebShow

Happy Birthday SpiderWebShow



SpiderWebShow is one year old and looks like a whole new kid. You can check it out here. The dawn of our second year has arrived.

What is this ‘show’ anyway? It is just site after all. Or a fancy blog – or is it? We think not. Why? Simple, there’s nothing else like us in Canada. SpiderWebShow is the only nationally-driven, performance-based website of its kind in this country. This is true, and it is very cool too, because it is still so young. It is such a baby! But it is already a theatrical space where performance minds can connect and create. We hope you will use it in this way. We sincerely hope you do…and that’s it.

Makes for a short article, besides we are all busy, right?

But wait a minute… a few pieces of how and why this all came to be.

Life is not a highway nor is it authentic. Rather it moves like a web and unfolds like a show. There is connectivity to be found among isolated incidents and there are countless ways to play out any of our individual scenes – be they real or imagined this is the 21st Century after all.

So, how do we talk about this in our theatre?

In the 20th Century Erving Goffman wrote a ground-breaking book called The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. It was a sociological treatise that used the specifics of theatre to parse out the performative elements of everyday life. It went on to suggest that we are the creators of our own social characters; that by the choice of mask and costume and through the timing of our entrances and exits, we can control how we are seen in the world.

When I look back I know that SpiderWebShow was born of a hunch. I had a sense that there might be a way to gather and collate the disparate strands and to allow meaning to form as a result. I had a feeling that we might be able to tell a story in a new way and to allow that story the space to have ever changing narratives.

I wanted to move forward and backwards through the story and to look to its left and its right. Ultimately I hoped we would be able to expose all the story making elements. Since its inception Co-Creator Michael Wheeler and I struggled to find a form for sentiment. Making an online ‘show’ is one sweet challenge.

After first conceiving of the ‘show’ we went on to join forces with our digital dramaturg, Graham F Scott. After an inaugural volume, Adrienne Wong of Neworld Theatre came aboard as our Associate Artist and to head the experimental wing of the ‘show’. After a first year of performing for almost 10,000 visitors, not bad I say, we are expanding anew:

We are so happy to welcome our newest Associate Artist, Laurel Green from ATP and our first Associate Digital Dramaturg Simon Bloom of Outside The March. Not only this, but today marks the beginning of a new look, new features, and it comes with a dedication to making our sight as accessible to as many people as possible. I am also stoked to point your eye to Lindsay Anne Black’s new logo design for our show.

In 2007, Brian Quirt gave a keynote address to the PACT conference. In this speech he brought forward the idea of dramaturg as leader and first responder to the 21st century:

“Guy Cools writes that he believes that the 19th century was the century of the actor, and that the 20th century was the century of the director, the ‘guru’ director. And that the 21st century will be “the era of collective process guided (as opposed to directed) by the dramaturg”. He believes that the dramaturg has become the avant-garde,… ”

These are shifting sands time and The SpiderWebShow, conceived dramaturgically, is looking to keep with it.

Over the course of a year this constantly devising ‘show’, has become a production. The ‘show’ has moved from the amorphous and hidden, to the present and uncertain, to the performance that we are today. I want t close by doubling back to performativity: Our costumes are different, our masks are less full, and our next entrance comes with some really cute baby steps and a celebration of being one.