ACT 00165: The Gesture of Citation

Performed at The Walker Arts Centre (2012) Performa 13 (2013) and The Artes Mundi 6 Awards (2015)

Are you an artist with a foot in activism, a community organiser, or a small business owner?Are you someone who questions the status quo?Are you interested in uncovering structures of power and exclusion?Are you the exception and the rule?

Cast  with activists, educators and artists dedicated to social change and  justice, this work defines its pedagogy through 4 core principles:  

  1. That the final play structure shall be co-authored 
  2. That multiple actors can interchange the same role(s) 
  3. That the (non) actors contemporary life experiences will be inserted as interruptions into the play script. 
  4. That any member of the cast or audience can interrupt the plays narrative and speak their own truth.


Where does power reside in the room? Who gets to speak, and who is silenced? Which facets of a narrative will come to light?  
Within  Brechts play , the rule implies a legal language or a directive, while  the exception evokes being ungovernable or searching for an alternative  to either the state or the free market. Together, they act as both a  statement, that the rule cannot exist without the exception, and a  question, as to what a state of exception might be. 


As part of the exhibition, artists Mirza and  Butler join community members to interpret The Exception and the Rule,  Bertolt Brecht’s 1929 play that recounts a tale of corruption,  exploitation, and injustice—a tale with compelling parallels to today’s  culture. Through this and other “learning plays,” Brecht attempted to  promote revolution and make theater explicitly political by revealing  its mechanics, breaking down divisions between actors and audience, and  making both into active participants.




Instigated by artists from and working with theatre director  Frances Rifkin, the experimental workshops explore the relationships  between political speech and action; the self and the collective; and  voice and silence. Through establishing  close relationships with  migrant rights groups and unions, Implicated Theatre creates theatrical  interventions inspired by real-life struggles and highlights issues of  social justice.


Implicated Theatre have collectively  created an ethical stage a shared space to explore the ghosts of  migration, history and politics. Initially focusing on the personal,  Implicated Theatre has developed relationships and techniques that  support investigations into the everyday conflicts and grand historical  narratives that shape its participants lives.


What happens  when we try to take ownership of our own voices? Where are we when we  are in silence? What does it mean to speak out? As the logic of capital  increasingly governs our lives, how can we imagine and create a space  which challenges the profit-driven motives of the neo-liberal discourses  we inhabit and perpetuate? We are implicated, and so are you.