Small Wooden Shoe is named after the tools French workers would use to "clog" the machinery when on strike. Their “sabot” – small wooden shoes – gave English the word “sabotage.”

Like them, we want to disrupt the machinery of "business as usual" in hopes for a better world. more about what we do

2. Ruling and Limits

part of a series

2_Nothing is ruled out. Nothing ruled in. Not everything goes.

On the importance of considering the inconsiderable and the necessity of exclusion.

No strategy, subject or form can be categorically dismissed or adopted. As formulaic as much mainstream work is (ruling out many politics, forms and ways of being,) the “experimental” can be equally guilty of refusing to consider options (especially those from the mainstream.) I want to exclude none of this.

At this moment especially I want to include the populist and entertaining. I want to embrace them with also embracing social and political urgencies.

We all tend to make assumptions and develop habits about what goes and what doesn’t in our work. And I don’t know that that’s helpful. It’s more helpful me to be able to have a full spectrum of possibilities. This means of course, not assuming I’m going to do that thing I always do. Do all Small Wooden Shoe shows have microphones? Do we always speak mostly to the audience? The answer for any given production might be “yes” - but for every given production, I have to think about it. It’s tricky of course – if I don’t find a video artist to collaborate with, the chances are there will be no video (or if there is, it will be limited and stressful.) If I decide to work with a video artist, because I don’t want to rule it out, chances are there will be video, since it’s hard to bring someone in and then not use them.

When originally drafting this, a friend pointed out (midway down) the importance of exclusion and limits - and I agree. In any single project, in any single moment, limits must be decided on. Not everything goes.

Dedicated to the Revolutions had a very strict limit from the beginning - a list of seven scientific revolutions that I remembered from grade 8. No matter what else we thought of - the list was going to frame the work. Then, through rehearsal, the frame of “demonstrating” and “demonstrating the difficulty of demonstrating the effects of progress on our lives.” Then “Try to help.”

These values and set objects allowed us to work, gave us some things to bounce off of and rely on. To come into a room of people with no idea of the limits is terrifying - and maybe impossible. Trying to reconcile the two halves is the conversation of making work.

So far, I think it probably helps to work on things over time - coming into the work and moving away. This way we can set limits, play around with them and then have time to reflect and maybe make new proposals. And to admit the things I include or exclude without reflection. Doesn’t mean I have to do them, but I should think about it.

Dedicated A/V online

Brendan Healy and Buddies in Bad Times.