the Surveillance Camera Players . . .

. . . are not a professional theatre troupe, nor are they producers of or actors in television shows; they are just a bunch of average Joes and Josephines who appreciate how boring it must be for law enforcement officers to watch the video images constantly being displayed on the closed-circuit television surveillance systems that perpetually monitor our behavior and appearance all over the city. The only time these officers have any fun watching these monitors is when something illegal is going on. But the crime rate is down and the subways (which are filled with surveillance cameras) are the safest they have been in 30 years. Thus, for untold numbers of police surveillants, there is less and less to watch -- less and less to watch out for -- every day. And so we have both an opportunity and a problem here. The opportunity is to get those law enforcement officials watching something on TV that isn't all sex and violence; and the problem is that a bored surveillant is an inattentive surveillant, and an inattentive surveillant is a waste of space, time and money.

Answering the call of Guerilla Programming of Video Surveillance Equipment, the members of the SCP have banded together to present a specially-designed series of famous dramatic works of the modern period for the entertainment, amusement and moral edification of the surveilling members of the law enforcement community. Because nothing prevents or relieves boredom so much as surprise, the SCP aim to present each of their spectacles at a different time and place. Neither the location nor the exact time of any of the SCP's performances will be given in advance.

The first work to be performed by the SCP -- Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi -- will take place somewhere in Manhattan on 10 December 1996, exactly 100 years after the play's first public performance. For this special centenary performance of Jarry's classic work of "avant garde" theatre, the SCP have called upon internationally-known playwright and screenwriter Art Toad to create for them a silent adaption of Ubu Roi, so that it may be performed in front of surveillance cameras (which are rarely or more accurately not yet equipped with microphones). The SCP will be under Monsieur Toad's direction.

Other works to be performed by the SCP during the 1996-97 year will include Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros and a special adaption of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for the silent stage. All performances will be free and open to the public, which can attend either the actual performances of the plays or the video monitors that will display them as they are taking place. Members of the SCP, who will be watching the performances on the monitors as well as performing as actors, will try to videotape everything within sight for future display and/or broadcast.

-- November 1996.

Contact the Surveillance Camera Players

By e-mail

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

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