Theatre Junction goes Supernova

Multi-disciplinary show seeks meaning in a digitized environment and finds porn in the suburbs

Theatre Junction’s final show of the season Sometime between now and when the sun goes Supernova doesn’t shy away from profound questions that hit at the heart of contemporary existence.

“The central question is: How does the digitized environment we created as an extension of ourselves change how we are in the world how we interact with other people in the world?” says Theatre Junction artistic director Mark Lawes. “Marshal McLuhan talks about that” he adds noting the genesis of Supernova lies with his reading the work of the renowned communications-theory intellectual.

Lawes and his team created the show while doing a residency in Paris in 2012 and it premièred at Theatre Junction last year. The company is re-mounting the piece — which incorporates both French and English in keeping with the bilingual nature of its artistic ensemble — to prepare for its upcoming performance in Montreal.

Lawes says audience members can expect a few changes in terms of text and scenes. Furthermore Arran Fisher will play Chris Dadge’s original score.

Lawes says the lengthy title reflects the overall theme of the show which he describes as a “theatre concert” rather than a play. “It’s about being in a place where the old world is falling way and the new world is not yet there. It’s an in-between space where the future is uncertain” he explains.

Besides McLuhan’s writings Lawes says David Lynch films and the work of American photographer Larry Sultan also inspired the piece. Sultan did a photographic study of suburban homes in Los Angeles which were rented out as locations for pornographic films. That inspired the suburban soundstage setting of Supernova . “Suburbia is this nowhere land this constructed reality. Suburbia is built on a utopic ideal that creates this illusion of a place of safety.… The marketing of suburbia versus the actual reality of the suburbs is evident in Larry’s photos. They look safe yet they’re a locale for pornography.”

Supernova also incorporates a prominent cinematic element. A large curved screen serves as the backdrop while smaller computer and television screens also occupy the stage reinforcing Supernova ’s examination of the digitized world and our place in it.

While there is no linear narrative in the piece Lawes says there are characters that audiences follow throughout. “We see how what they are experiencing impacts their interactions.”

He adds that Supernova does not impose any sort of moral judgment on the current reality nor does it propose “solutions.” Instead he calls it a “journey” and an “exploration” of the uncertainty and anxiety associated with this new reality in which we find ourselves — a journey that gives audiences a chance to participate through analyzing interpreting and judging for themselves what they see.