Wondermart : Background / Inspiration                                       notes by Silvia Mercuriali

Wondermart grew from the desire to push further the Autoteatro strategy that Ant Hampton and I developed for our previous show, Etiquette, by placing the participants in an unpredictable and interactive yet familiar environment.

Thinking about this new project we became more and more attracted by the concept of the non-places that surround and increasingly define our lives. The decision to use supermarkets as the backdrop for our new show came from a reflection on the idea of responsibility. In our TOCAR (Theatre Of Command And Response) strategy we try to take away the responsibility for the outcome of the show from the performers to place it entirely in the hands of the authors. This gives the performer the freedom to just naturally react to instructions without feeling under pressure to perform, and at the same time allows the spectators to witness something that is unrepeatable and live in the rawest sense. What Rotozaza has always been interested in is the individuality of participants, and what they can bring to the show which is impossible to rehearse.

Supermarkets try to do the same (or something very similar); they want the shopper to get lost in the myriad incentives, special offers and inducements and allow themselves to be guided by the institution's presentation of the products. Supermarkets want you to abandon your shopping list to let yourself be driven by impulses. The new community of shoppers zooms past each other rushing to the tills to be converted into buyers.

By playing out our system within the supermarket environment, Wondermart hacks / exposes / manipulates the subliminal operations in play and bends them to new purposes, creating the opportunity to inhabit a commercial setting for decidedly non-commercial reasons. 

Without dismissing the validity of theatre in a more classical sense, Autoteatro allows a more personal experience where the participants are written into the show. The spectator becomes the main character around which this world revolves. Unlike Etiquette, the artists do not seek authorization from the supermarket for this performance. Taking part in the show will therefore become more of an active decision from audience members and a small act of rebellion against a system that imposes a way of relating to a space.

In recent years I have been more and more interested in what it means to make theatre in public spaces, and how to turn reality into a spectacle, covertly. In a filmic sense, I like the idea of treating every corner as a possible location, where the inhabitants of the space become extras in a scene played out to a privileged audience, yet oblivious of their new role and totally undisturbed.

As Individual Need becomes the accepted driver for actions in society, as opposed to mass movements of people striving for changes as a group, I feel that audiences too have developed the desire to feel more unique. They want to experience something personal and personalized, in which their perceptions are acknowledged, in a more active relationship to a piece of art.

Whilst veering well clear of simplistic didacticism, I wanted to create the ironic tension of servicing this ego-centric desire amidst the communal sterility of the supermarket. I want the audience of Wondermart to experience being part of something secret and special which only they are aware of, and yet to emerge with greater affection for their fellow shoppers, and an urge for community.


Tommaso Perego trained at Milan Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, in Music Composition, Conducting, Electronic Music and Double Bass. His latest compositions have been selected and performed at international festivals such as: ICMC (International Computer Music Conference) 2006 and 2007, SICMF Korea, Spring in Havana Electro-acoustic Music Festival 2006, Spark Festival Minnesota USA, Plymouth Festival England UK (Sonic Arts Networks), Signal and Noise Festival, Vancouver CAN and Druskininkaj Electronic and Youth Orchestral Music Festival. He has been playing in concerts with artists and composers of electronic music such as Richard Boulanger, Miller Puckette, Cort Lippe and Richard Dudas, and with performers as the Uusinta Ensemble (Helsinki) and the Surplus Ensemble USA. Recents awards are the iXem Prize for Experimental Music, Rome and a Commission for a 3D Audio Visual Piece for King s Place, by s.p.n.m and no.w.here. Website: http://www.toom.be

Matt Rudkin - Following an ‘Creative Arts’ degree at Nottingham Trent University, Matt’s career has encompassed a wide variety of performance practices, working as performer, director and writer.  He founded and ran the original ‘Bongo Club Cabaret’ at the Edinburgh Fringe from '94 - '01, working as a puppeteer and maker with The Edinburgh Puppet Company during the same period.   He studied improvisation and clowning with ‘Ecole Philippe Gaullier’ and ‘The Actors Space’; and in ’99 completed an MA in Performance Studies at the Central School of Speech and Drama. 

Since 2003 Matt has also toured internationally with street theatre shows in collaboration with Three Monkey productions and Fraser Hooper.  Matt has taught for 9 years at Brighton University where he is currently Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Visual Art.  He has also taught at Rose Bruford, Goldsmiths, Italia Conti, Circus Space and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. 

Since graduation Matt has also continued to present both solo and collaborative experimental work, including appearances at such venues as 'The Green Room' Manchester, 'The Powerhouse', Nottingham; 'CCA', Glasgow; Whitstable Biennale, 'ICA', ‘Omsk’, ‘Shunt Lounge’ and ‘Chats Palace’ London.  

Informed and inspired by:

Reverend Billy and The Church of Life after Shopping

‘Why we buy –The science of Shopping’ by Paco Underhill

‘Tescopoli – How one shop came out on top and why it matters’ by Andrew Simms

‘Influence –Science and practice’ by Robert B. Cialdini

‘The story of stuff’ by Annie Leonard

‘non-places - an introduction to an anthropology of supermodernity’ by Marc Auge

‘The century of the Self’ a series of documentary by Adam Curtis

The Corporation Directed by MARK ACHBAR and JENNIFER ABBOTT

Czech Dream - a film by Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda.

Wal*Mart - The High Cost Of Low Priceby Robert Greenwald

                                                                                                                        photos by Ant Hampton