This requires some back story.Right after university I founded a “collective” called sabotage group with a bunch of friends who did things other than theatre: a film-maker, a few writers, a geography PhD candidate, a few musicians (many of these people over lapped these descriptors.)
“Collective” requires the quotes because really, it was a led-collaboration, but at the time, anything short of “collective” seemed like a political failure.
Under that name there were 3 shows - 1 in Vancouver: Pleasure is So Hard To Remember (a title I’d love to re-use); and 2 in Toronto: …Open Wound and Other Than War. The shows were, generously, young - but each had moments and aspects that certainly track through all my work, and I worked with truly amazing people - many of whom I still collaborate with.
Other than War - a show bringing together narratives of the Red Army Faction (Baader-Meinhof) and Uncle Vanya in the spring of 2001 (during Quebec City, pre-Trade Towers) - was the pinnacle and the destruction of the ability to work in the supposed collective. All very ambitious, all very glad it happened - but there are things I’d do better.
I fled to Halifax (it was planned before, but still felt like fleeing) and needed a name to produce under - something that I could do without need to deal with the mux that sabotage group had become personally. I had hopes that sabotage group wasn’t completely finished, but I needed what might be a side project.
“Sabotage” comes from (in some reports) striking French workers throwing their “sabots” - clogs - in to the machinery in order to stop scab labour and force owners to settle in order to get the machines fixed. I looked “sabot” up in a French-English Dictionary and it said, “a small wooden shoe.” I thought Small Wooden Shoe was a good name for the side project.
And 10 years later, I still like it.
I've been thinking lately about how to talk about the political instinct/desire to disrupt and make changes that the name carries. I think about differently than I did 10 years about - but I still think about.
"Throwing a clog into the machinery of the everyday" - just not sure. Thoughts welcome.