Itsazoo Theatre Company explores the concept of power in their production Chairs.

Itsazoo Theatre Company explores the concept of power in their production Chairs.

Theatre explores power balance

Moving up the hierarchy in a flat, barren landscape is as easy as building a chair.

The difficulty lies in retaining that new-found power – an idea a Vancouver-based theatre company explores in their new production Chairs: A Parable.

Playwright Sebastien Archibald, with Itsazoo Theatre Productions, set out with the goal to create a slightly absurd piece that dealt with issues of power and hierarchy, said director Chelsea Haberlin.

“He wanted to write something that was very simple,” she said. “He came up with this idea to use chairs to represent hierarchy.”

The play, a multimedia production that incorporates flash animation and environment soundscape, focuses on three individuals who find themselves stuck on a barren landscape.

“They feel hopeless, useless and they have no purpose in their lives,” Haberlin said. “One of them decides to build a chair.”

Immediately, the power shifted to the person sitting in the chair. Soon the question arises, however, of who gets to sit in the chair.

The play opened in Vancouver last week and is currently touring the Island with a stop at the Diners Rendezvous Monday (April 4).

The response to the show has been varied as people relate much of their own experiences into the play. Office workers talked of the envy created when someone receives a new chair, Haberlin said.

“It can mean anything for different people,” she said.

The company began five years ago when the members were still in theatre school at the University of Victoria. Unhappy with relegation to second or third-string roles as second-year students, they formed their own theatre company.

“We were impatient,” Haberlin said.

The company became successful with their outdoor promenade performances. Since they attracted families, the plays included aspects interesting to children while still conveying the political satire they aimed for.

“They always had a bit of an edge,” Haberlin said. “We explore topics that are of interest to us.”

Their goal is not to preach but to start conversations, said Haberlin.

Chairs begins at 8 p.m. Admission is by donation of $15 or more. Please call the Rendezvous at 250-740-1133 to reserve a seat. For more information, please visit

Nanaimo News Bulletin