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High Concepts, Theater

Mobile Phones and Future Tensions

by Ralph Upton, co-creator of For Your Future Guidance by Binge Culture Collective

For Your Future Guidance1. Credit Goldthorpe CreativeWhen we drop our rental car off in Chicago before our final touring performance of For Your Future Guidance at High Concept Labs, it will be time to give sincere thanks to our mobile phones. Our phones guided us through all these unfamiliar streets (we drive on the left in New Zealand) and shunted us between highways. They patiently forgave our missed turns and wrong lanes and gave us new options. They steered us around toll routes. They showed us the names of the buildings and monuments around us, and gave us Wiki histories of the surrounding area, which we mumbled through in the backseat of the car as landmarks went whizzing past. The frisbee was invented here, the Subway sandwich was invented there, there was a terrible battle in that swamp. They provided podcasts to keep us awake on the long stretches, and where there were vegan options, they found them.

Without the access our mobile phones gave us to the world’s information,
we’d have been in trouble far more often than we were.

Did the internet find us our audience too? Sure, we went online to find the connections to friends of friends in Providence, or Philadelphia, or Pittsburgh, from back in Wellington, New Zealand. We put together this whole DIY tour via email, made Facebook pages, and all that stuff. In the end though, people have come to the shows (so far) because they’ve trusted someone and taken their word that it’ll be worth seeing an interactive seminar performance by a couple of kiwis about combating “Future Tension.” Brave people in these cities have vouched for us, and others have come because someone has put the word out. We’re very grateful to these people, since that’s the only way this works. As the saying goes, there’s no app for that.

Future Tension Poster by Binge CultureFor Your Future Guidance is a comedic theatre show that is also a real interactive self-help seminar. It’s useful for the audience to know both these things before they come in. The show was created by Joel Baxendale and myself, and we alternate roles on the road. We lead the participants through a series of simple exercises and explore the unknown using eggplants and velcro as teaching aids. We’re former university tutors, and we approach this material in much the same way, except we really like the material this time. There’s a series of tasks, and a seminar outline to follow—it’s not pretend in that way. We keep the lights up and we answer questions when they are asked as best we can.

So it’s not surprising that the show changes with each audience, because at its most basic level it’s about them, not us. Some audiences get the satirical side immediately and laugh a lot. Others take it more seriously, exploring the year 2035 in a serious and committed way. Our job as facilitators is to balance these two aspects of the show—the absurd and the real—and try to let them enhance one another. We try and listen to what each audience is after.

Finally, we’re hugely thankful to be doing a performance in which the show itself is a platform for conversation and meeting with the audience. After all the emails, all the maps, and conversations with Siri it took to get here, it’s a good feeling, for that hour at least, to be talking with the people we came to meet.

For Your Future Guidance will be performed at High Concept Labs Tuesday, April 14 @ 8 PM, $10.

Grab tickets here.

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This blog is a source for our associated artists and audiences to share the experience of the creative process. Here you will find news, pictures, and video's of the new work created at HCL.

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