HUMANZOO started from an idea that spawned in conversation with Edward Charette, the conversation developed into a discussion about what would happen if we put a human being into a cage… or in this case an empty stage, with some sort of glass fourth wall, for a very long time, perhaps days. Someone would routinely and adequately feed them and they would have an outhouse or bathroom off stage. No props, nothing to do or interact with other than the idea that an audience is watching them.
Perhaps they would be given a character to start with, perhaps not, I imagine that character would likely crumble away in hours, but worth trying anyway. We would eventually be left with a pure human to watch. Ideally the stage would be separated with a glass, sound proof wall and the cage would be mic’d, so observers could hear the human, but would be unable to say anything to them. Eventually this would expand, and multiple exhibits could take place at simultaneously, much like a zoo. Further experiments could lead to having two humans in one cage (experimenting with different gender combinations), or even a human and a monkey in one cage ( I’m sure we’d have some animal rights activists with a few things to say about that) . The exhibit would have to be constant, no breaks, no limits, you could even come and watch the human sleep if you wanted to, without any judgement.
We became intrigued by the idea so much, that it became the basis of what we believed theatre to be, or at least what we wanted to do as artists. ( I could be speaking for myself there) To reveal some magical expression of truth, some pure, universal expression of the human body and mind, stripped to its core, and to do that all for someone else to see.
The story is the side effect of this phenomenon, the by-product of the brain. Despite this probably being the antithesis of everything I have ever learned about theatre, I don’t believe theatre to be about story telling. I’m not interested in telling stories or entertainment, I just want to try and understand why I’m (we’re) alive… what it is I’m (we’re) supposed to do. I want to investigate ideas and to experience as many points of view as possible, to ask an indefinitely open question, one without a right or wrong answer…instead, just another possibility.
For now, it is enough just to keep looking for this meaning and that is what HUMANZOO is dedicated to, through whatever medium we believe will convey our idea at the time best, hopefully along the way creating new mediums.
So what’s next?