What’s with the sunglasses anyways?

Optative GlassesIf you’re new to this blog, this site or OTL in general, you may have noticed the frequent use of pairs of coloured sunglasses in photos, videos and even in the graphics on our homepage. These serve one main purpose and it’s not to block bright sunshine from the eyes (though that function is helpful, too, because many of our performances take place outdoors in the daytime). The Optative Glasses (or OGs) serve, above all, as a licence to play.

We’re not suggesting that someone needs permission to play ever. Rather, we all have the right and some might argue the duty to, from time to time, see the world through theatrical eyes. This allows us to create our own scene or change the script of one that’s already been established.

In a more conventional sense, they can be used as a theatrical device, as they are in Car Stories, that lets the audience know when the show, which is staged in actual streets, alleys, parked cars and bars, starts and stops. Glasses down, glasses up becomes a replacement for curtain up, curtain down.

Car Stories scene

Car Stories players wearing Optative Glasses

In a socio-cultural sense, Optative Glasses allow us to change our perception of some of the corporate and cultural theatrics we are exposed to daily such as billboard ads, reality advertising and symbols of authority such as “officials” of corporate street fairs operating on public space, store security during a culture jam and even the police. Instead of seeing them as entities in fixed natural roles, they become theatrical players working with a script written by others for a specific purpose.

By wearing the Optative Glasses, we get the symbolic permission to interject ourselves into the scene as any character we wish and alter the script. They are not designed to change reality, but rather to allow us to re-interpret it and see it as it really is. Oppressive structures rely heavily on perception for their authority and by altering this perception, we take the authority, or authorship, of the scene back.

The corporate players play their part and we, as activist players play ours. Thanks to the Optative Glasses it becomes perfectly clear to us what is happening as it’s happening. Rather than level the playing field, OGs equalize the playing space.

One Response to “What’s with the sunglasses anyways?”

  1. Rasmus Says:

    Kinda like the glasses from the 1988-classic “The Live” ;o)


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