Monthly Archives: March 2004

Inspired Agitators & the Pantomime Horse

Xeno Gallery 3

David and Jean in March, 2004 at the Xeno Gallery show, the beginning of the “Inspired Agitators & the Pantomime Horse” art, music and workshop tour in B.C.


“Playbill” by David Lester


“Playwright’s Intention” by David Lester


“Horse and Rider” by Jean Smith


“Empty Rooms in the South of France” by Jean Smith


“Inspired Agitators” by David Lester


“Inspired Agitators” by David Lester

“We’re Here Now. Everything Is Ours. Too Bad for You.” by Jean Smith



May 7 – Burnaby – Burnaby Central High School
June 11 – Vancouver – The Butchershop Floor
June 17 – Nelson, BC – Charlotte’s at the David Thompson Cultural Centre
June 18 – Grand Forks, BC – Grand Forks Art Gallery
June 19 – Kaslo, BC – Crooked Cafe
June 20 – Kelowna, BC – Bean Scene
June 21 – Vernon, BC – Vernon Public Art Gallery
June 24 – 27 – Olympia, WA – exhibit at Bryce’s Barber Shop as part of the Olympia Experimental Music Festival
June 27 – Seattle – Left Bank Books
July 16 – Portland – Disjecta Gallery
July 17 – Seattle – Counterfeit Gallery group art show
July 18 – Anacortes, WA “What the Heck” Festival – Department of Safety with art by Jean and David in the Absent Album Art Exhibit
July 24 – Victoria – Fifty-Fifty Space
July 27 – Denman Island, BC – Community Hall
July 28 – Hornby Island, BC – Wild Indigo Theatre Summer Production with Sylo
July 29 – Duncan, BC – Garage Showroom
July 30 – Victoria – Ministry of Casual Living – 6:30 reception, art show runs until August 5
July, 30 – Nanaimo, BC – Dizzy’s
July 31 – Cumberland, BC – The Abbey
August 2 – Vancouver – Cafe Deux Soleil – Poetry Slam
August 7 – Vancouver – Interurban Gallery – Books to Prisoners Art Auction
September 2 – Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design – Orientation for Foundation students, a multi-media Mecca Normal presentation
September 10 – 12 – Yeah! Fest, Olympia

A play in the form of an art exhibit. Moving a concept into production, from vision to presentation. The pantomime horse is the duo in collaboration… arguing… working together. Unison. Tension. Rebellion. The theme of the play is the production of art with political content. Limitations. Folly. Freedom.

The art exhibit is hung as a linear stage play with beginning and end points. Static images form a flexible narrative.

The playwright grapples with presenting political content – how much does he need to reveal to make his point? Literal content is represented by David’s series of posters “Inspired Agitators” and by Jean’s paintings “Playwright’s Vision” and “We’re Here Now. Everything Is Ours. Too Bad For You.” – which humourously depicts an RCMP officer confronting a group of people, presumably First Nations, with his version of reality. The semi-obscured people respond with, “Maybe He’s Lost.” This scene is painted twice – once to represent the playwright’s original vision of the scene, and again as the actual scene. Here, the Pantomime Horse replaces the image of a real horse; the trees are cut-out shapes on the edge of the stage.

Several pieces show a negative audience response to the play, leaving the playwright to anguish over the difficulty of presenting political ideas. The inclusion of these behind-the-scenes reactions extends the boundaries of the exhibit to include the viewers’ concerns – one might relate to the playwright or the audience, or both. These reactions introduce the issue of artistic success and failure – do either the play or art exhibit succeed at what they are attempting to accomplish?

Mecca Normal performing “No Show” (unreleased) at Bryce’s Barber Shop, Olympia WA, 2004. Film by Marilyn Freeman.