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Sunday March 28, 2010 in Books
A phenomenal critical success when first produced by Western Theatre Conspiracy in 2004, Omniscience is much more than a murder-mystery set in a quasi-familiar contemporary landscape of high-tech urban warfare. The plot, not surprisingly optioned already for a movie, is redolent with untrustworthy “embedded” journalists manufacturing positivist pseudodocumentaries about the ongoing victories of our military forces over any and all stripes of vaguely defined terrorists, hell-bent on destroying the “wellness” of our contemporary “free society.” We recognize immediately the storyline’s seamless meld with everyone’s favourite post-9/11 reality TV show, the Evening News. On reflection, however, that recognition is strangely discomforting if not downright threatening.
Omniscience subtly and relentlessly begs the question of how many of our freedoms we have already lost to the institutions engaged in our surveillance “for our own protection” and the uses they make of the power over our lives we have voluntarily abrogated to them through our support of such phenomena as The Patriot Act, anti-terrorism legislation and Operation Enduring Freedom. But ubiquitous surveillance has become a fact of our everyday lives not only in our public acts, but also in our private spaces where increasingly every conversation we have is monitored for the purposes of corporate and careerist “quality control.” What is so unique about Omniscience is not its patently transparent storyline, but its dialogue which so utterly reconfigures language that nouns become verbs, making all human actions a reflection of “industry standards” and corporate “best practices,” and verbs become nouns, so that no one can do, and everyone just is—no independent thought or action is conceivable that is not based on its ideal and preconceived corporatist template. What is so unsettlingly disturbing about Omniscience is how perfectly accomplished Tim Carlson is in his “dialoguing” of the corporatist, military-industrial Newspeak of our age.
Conspiracy’s premiere production of Omniscience was nominated for six Jessie Richardson theatre awards in 2005, including best production. Omniscience was published in German translation in Theater der Zeit’s anthology, Dialog. The translation received a staged reading at Berlin’s Maxim Gorki Theatre in 2006 and was produced by Theater Magdeburg in October 2007. The play premiered in the US at Stage Left in Chicago in April 2008 and a Portuguese-language translation was produced by Novo Grupo de Teatro in Lisbon in June 2008.
ISBN 13: 9780889225626 | ISBN 10: 889225621
6 W x 9 H inches | 96 pages
$15.95 CAN / $16.95 US
Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA000000
QUOTES OF NOTE
“This assault on the modern media makes a clever stab at warning its audiences of what’s to come on this crazy granite planet … [A] nuanced murder-mystery …”
— Vancouver Sun
“Omniscience is a gritty and complex drama with a clear, important message about … the censorship of mass media, the lack of true human contact, and the easy access to information about individuals in our society.”
— Canadian Literature
About the ContributorsTim Carlson
Tim Carlson is the artistic producer of Theatre Conspiracy in Vancouver. Conspiracy’s premiere production of Omniscience (Talonbooks) was nominated for six Jessie Richardson theatre awards in 2005, including best production. The Theatre Conspiracy production of Tim’s most recent play, Diplomacy, premiered at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre in November 2006. He is also the author of the one-act newsroom comedies Night Desk (2001) and The Chronicle has Hart (2000).
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.