"The government had agreed through charter to use a random number system to pick winning Premium Bonds from a monthly draw, thus rendering ownership of Bonds a form of sanctioned gambling. This sanctioning and endorsement was important […] it afforded a respectability to investment in chance that has eluded casino culture to this day." - Alan Read
Consider how civic politics is a game of chance, or even a gamble. People represent our ‘best interests’ in this game, because it was agreed upon long before we were born (much less, old enough to vote) that the game, and this form of political representation, would serve us.
Now, consider who ‘us’ is. Do civic representatives legitimately represent all of us? Think about the problems we have inherited from such representation, our ‘heritage’ of politics. Perhaps it’s not surprising that an increasing number of us choose to have nothing to do with the game of civic politics, and ignore how we are represented.
When our production was generously given access to this Heritage Room in the Kitchener City Hall, we wondered, who this space represents. Notice the mural on the back wall that in part depicts famous people from Kitchener’s history. Does this place represent them? Maybe. We discovered that the Heritage Room is a place where city zoning decisions are made. So, is this a place where different zones or regions of the city are represented? Perhaps. What troubles us about the Heritage Room is that it is a place where a certain myth of democracy is practiced; indeed, in the rituals of this place, myths are brought to life and have significant impact on the lives of all citizens in this city.
In the performance you are about to experience, we wanted to bring the myth of liberal democracy to life in the form of a kind of sanctioned game. And we also wanted to bring this game to a grinding halt. We wondered if we could achieve this by introducing a certain kind of player, a woman who does not feel as though she is part of the game.
For us, this has ultimately been a process of reclamation, an act of re-appropriating what has been lost. In reality, I think this is a messy process. But one thing is clear: whatever was taken away can no longer be the same. The act of reclaiming rejects the reassurance of ontological purity. Reclamation may seem like a defensive gesture, but it actually involves conversation, listening, revealing of perspectives, and a critical reckoning of our most fundamental rights, which tend to be assumed until they are taken away.