I KEEP DROPPING SH*T conceived by Jacob Zimmer and created by Zimmer, Frank Cox O'Connell, Chad Dembski, Brendan Gall, Erika Hennebury and Evan Webber. Presented by Small Wooden Shoe at MaRS, Collaboration Room 3 (101 College). July 5-8 and 10-15 at 8 pm. Rating: NNNNN
Who knew that postmodern performance technique and scientific inquiry could yield so much fun?
I didn't until I saw Small Wooden Shoe 's Do You Have Any Idea How Fast You Were Going? at Rhubarb! Its exploration of the Industrial Revolution was part sly entertainment and part Professor Wizard's TV Science Show for the 21st century.
It was the first of the company's works devoted to the seven revolutions that have changed our lives. Under the overall title Dedicated To The Revolutions, they've gone through the information revolution and the Gutenberg revolution, and are now tackling Newton and his apple in I Keep Dropping Sh*t .
"My interest in history is in moments of shift and how we see change in our lives," says deviser Jacob Zimmer . "Revolutions of any sort, whether they're scientific or not look at Chekhov's plays, which are about imminent social revolutions are clear moments to look at shifts when people are thrown into crisis."
Zimmer realizes that the Newtonian revolution is different from the Industrial or the Gutenberg; after all, in those he could use a steam engine or a book for a prop.
"What's challenging with Newton's is that it's so fundamental. He didn't invent anything; his impact was unifying laws by which the universe operates, in a way that's still true in our daily existence. You can get a person to the moon using only Newtonian physics; you don't need Einstein."
But a company that relies on tongue-in-cheek debates, audience surveys, oversized Tinkertoys and onstage relay races won't have trouble coming up with theatrical devices to demonstrate the scientific method.
"We want to look at what it's like to apply the Newtonian formula of cause and effect to our lives and see if it works," he grins. "Could I predict, for instance, with mathematical accuracy, whether I'm going to have a good time at a party?"
Zimmer makes a point of collaborating with creative types who also happen to be actors.
"There comes a point when the group is clearly going to be smarter than me on my own. All of these Revolution pieces are about finding a way to excite a group and have them do what they're interested in. If you take intelligent, talented people and point them at something interesting that they enjoy working on, the result is bound to be smart.
"Good ideas, well expressed, are bound to be entertaining."