the Waverly Theatre

At 2 pm on Saturday 30 November 2002, the New York Surveillance Camera Players (SCP-New York) performed directly underneath a New York Police Department (NYPD) surveillance camera that is hung upon a lamp-post that stands in front of the Waverly Theatre. Closed for "renovation" for the last few years, the Waverly Theatre is located on Manhattan's Sixth Avenue, that is, more than a block away from Washington Square Park. And yet this camera is part of the 11-camera system that the NYPD operates from a communications van that is permanently stationed on the south side of the park. As a matter of fact, the majority of these surveillance cameras are positioned at the perimeters of the park, not within it, which clearly suggests that their purpose isn't to prevent or record evidence of crime committed in the park, but to keep track of the numbers and types of people who circulate around it. (Especially in the 1960s and 1970s, Washington Square Park was an area in which political activists from Greenwich Village and student radicals from New York University could meet, keep each other informed and collaborate on projects.)

The Waverly Theatre turned out to be an excellent location for the SCP-New York's 45-minute-long performance, which was the debut of a new play called Something Interesting. Though the weather was cold and the sky was grey (it eventually rained), there were a lot of people passing by. In part because few of these passers-by were tourists (most were local residents), the responses were strong, vocal and entirely positive. Many people declared themselves against "Big Brother" and "government spying." The Waverly is a location (or "stage") to which the group will surely return.

For this performance, the SCP-New York consisted of Carrie, Susan and Bill, all of whom handed out flyers when possible. There were no reporters or photographs in attendance; and there were no problems whatsoever with either police or security guards.

Contact the New York Surveillance Camera Players

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By snail mail: SCP c/o NOT BORED! POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998