A real uprising staged for the cameras
Gob Squad storm a theatre and broadcast their televised revolution onto the nearby streets. But is the world ready for change?
Imagine the scene in the shiniest, biggest shopping mall in your town. Hundreds of sales assistants suddenly stop work and stage a walk-out. Customers in the middle of deciding which ultra large plasma screen to buy are left without advice. Piles of Chinese made jeans are left on the floor at H&M as the shelf-stackers leave the store and join the crowds. Shoppers help themselves to chunky crystal poodles from the Swarovski shop, to use as weapons in case things turn nasty. The crowds gather, hundreds of them now, as the procession leads out of the mall and into the street. Loan advisers from the banks hand out huge wads of notes to the throng. An upmarket deli is stormed and armfuls of organic Italian cheeses and salamis are distributed amongst the crowd. Bus drivers abandon their vehicles and suddenly there are thousands of people in the streets, an angry mob. It’s the chaotic, noisy beginnings of a revolution…
Is it so hard to imagine? In these times of economic crisis, with uprisings in the Middle East and occupations in the heart of financial districts in very recent memory there’s definitely the smell of revolution in the air. But is the time right for a revolution? Here and now? Aren’t our lives a bit too comfortable to revolt? What would we be prepared to sacrifice for the cause? Are we, and the way we live our lives, part of the problem or part of the solution? And hasn’t the meaning of the word “revolutionary“ been diluted a bit since it is used to sell everything from boy bands to nicotine chewing gum to toilet cleaner?
Brushing these doubts aside, Gob Squad have taken the first steps in inciting an uprising. Or at least rehearsing one so we can be ready when the time comes. A theatre has been stormed and is now the revolutionaries HQ. Access to props and therefore weapons, explosives and special effects have been secured. Gob Squad lock the audience into the building and open a live video link to a solitary TV on the street, broadcasting to the unsuspecting passers-by outside. “This is Gob Squad Underground TV, and we’re not coming out until the world is ready to stop and listen. We’re in here for as long as it takes…”
With the help of the audience, revolutionary moments are re-enacted, manifestos are debated, electric guitars are turned up to eleven and rousing songs are sung, all with the aim of inspiring one passer-by to stop, listen and join us. As the evening continues, the search for this one person to represent “The People” intensifies. It’s all or nothing. It’s Revolution Now!
First performance: February 2010 (Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg Platz Berlin)