Artist in the Happy City is a new play conceived as an immersive theatre production. A contemporary urban Epic, winner of a bursary from Dartington Hall 2015, the project is a collaboration between Meyer Whitworth nominated David Lane, Linbury Prize finalist Jens Cole and the first UK Ibsen Scholarship winner and Artistic Director of Just Jones &, Rebecca Manson Jones.
Originally we were inspired by Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. Now the Happy City is set in a future not too far from our grasp. Following its foundation based on open government and social equity, the citizens of the Happy City find their principles challenged by an enemy within – scarcity.
Old prejudices revive and attempt to reassert old power paradigms. When pressure is mounting and consensus takes too long, who decides who eats, who starves and why? The audience is drawn into the action as the dilemmas become more acute and the traditional structures of command and control, show and tell, fragment.
The Artist steps from the shadows. Abandoning her traditional role of observer, she finds a way to use her artistic presence to effect positive change. The sternest of dictators must realise that in the face of such collaboration, force is futile.