Last week Rebus took over the Japan Theatre at Questacon to rehearse and perform Chemical ReACTion, an interactive Forum Theatre show about the dilemma’s of science communication. The show was a huge success with audiences and theatre critics alike expressing their appreciation for the unique experience provided by Rebus’ use of the Forum Theatre model.
The performance involved a 20-minute play in which a science communicator was tasked with the dissemination of the findings of a scientific paper. The paper had found a possible link between the creation of certain toxic chemicals and the manufacturing process of a regional manufacturing plant in ‘Petersville’, where children were dying from mysterious kidney diseases.
Once the audience had witnessed the play once, it was performed a second time with the audience being invited to yell ‘stop’ and discuss certain events in the scenes, and even come on stage and intervene in the action to try and create better outcomes for the characters.
A professional development showing was held on Thursday for Questacon staff and attendees from 10 other institutions, with two public performances held on Saturday.
“I just wanted to say a quick thank you for inviting us to be a part of the Chemical Reaction audience. It was a great learning experience and exceptionally different to anything I have experienced before. If you can pass on my admiration and compliments to the Rebus team, they did an amazing job and certainly made me think on the issues in a new way.” – Feedback from professional development session
“All injustice, all inequity and all oppression is placed under the microscope for all to challenge. Judging by the enthusiastic and committed interaction of the audience at Chemical ReACTion, Rebus once again asserts itself as a theatre company determined to make a difference.” – excerpt from Peter Wilkins review for the Canberra Critics Circle
“This was not theatre for the faint-hearted or the dull-witted so it was a pleasure to see how many engaged young people were in the audience to help the plot take off in a “choose your own adventure” format. Did it solve the problems of the world? Probably not, but this daring kind of theatre which Rebus has made its specialty proved a great deal more exciting than anything else I’d seen on the stage in quite a while.” – excerpt from Helen Musa’s review for City News.
This show was a reworking of our award-winning Forum Theatre show What If Scientists Ruled The World? which was originally commissioned by the Australian Academy of Science in partnership with Berlin’s Falling Walls Engage program and performed at the Shine Dome in 2021 to both a live audience, and audiences streaming in from all over the world.
Rebus would like to thank Questacon for supporting Rebus to remount the show and reach a wider audience.