Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Maritzburg Varsity 18-09-2007: How Do We Stop HIV/AIDS in a Mine?

Once the groups had grappled with the problem of what exactly makes something 'industrial theatre', I set up another topic.

I asked the groups to shuffle, and chat about this question: 'How do we stop HIV/AIDS in a mine?'

I asked the group to imagine they were a writer in a meeting with a producer. The producer told them that the job they had to come up with a solution for was this...

A particular mine is losing 30 employees per month to AIDS deaths. This is specifically linked to the presence of a compound of prostitutes on the perimeter of the mine. These prostitutes offer their services without condoms.

The brief is a real-world example of a brief I've been faced with.

The World Cafe discussions were really energizing for the groups. They were grappling with something that writers in my position have to solve in a day or so. And they were pretty deft in their thinking.

I also had a bag of goodies that my buddy Graham at Blue Moon provided for me. But the highlight of the day came when one of the students asked, 'If I were interested in DOING industrial theatre, in BECOMING a practitioner, what would I DO? How would I GO ABOUT IT???'

I had mentioned before that companies like Blue Moon are NOT industrial theatre companies anymore. Sure, they DO industrial theatre, but only as part of a MUCH bigger plan. The buzzword phrase is 'integrated communication'. But I'm doing a lot of intensive work with Blue Moon, and to them, it's not a buzzword. It's real.

So the highlight came when I pulled out a string of 'tickets' to stardom in the world of integrated communications...

The tickets were actually Graham's business cards. They're printed in the form of actual tickets. And they come in a perforated tear-off strip.

It was a feeding frenzy. I did mention that Graham MIGHT consider one or two of them for future internships. And I certainly did mention that Graham didn't want to get flooded with calls. Even so, the response was amazing.

So... uh... sorry, Graham... you're gonna get a bunch of calls, I think. Hehehehehehehehe.

As usual, I made this painting using ArtRage 2.5 on my Toshiba Tecra M4. Thanks to Veronica and Janet for arranging my flight, my accommodation, and my stipend. Huge appreciation! Thanks guys. And thanks to Graham at Blue Moon for his graft in getting a bag of goodies together for me.

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