Puppets are great, but not enough

In talking about The Summer Spectacular – often I’m all “Big Puppets! Spectacular! Summer!” Which is all true – but not everything.

We’re making the mash-up of history, science, politics and fun that I like so much and want more of in our theatre (and our world.)

We’re creating the show by touring the park and telling each other a mix of stories:

  • The Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus forms the scaffolding of the narrative.
    • Often told as a warning to not get too big for your britches – “Don’t fly too close to the sun!” – I wonder if maybe we should ask “Why were they imprisoned on an island that they needed to invent wax wings to fly away from?”
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer is an iconic figure – physicist, activist, leader of the Manhatten Project to develop the Atom Bomb and accused communist and security threat.
  • Aaron Swartz was an activist and much loved citizen of the internet and democratic reform. While being over prosecuted by the US government and MIT he took his own life at 26.
  • A new barely science fiction story set in 2018 about a Canadian scientist having some trouble with the government about what she wants to say.


I made a map of some thinking around the ethics and reasons for telling stories about people who are real. I’m only one degree of separation from people who loved Aaron and so I felt it was important to think through and articulate.

Mindmap of thinking about the ethics of the show.


“Trying to poison your tutor is no small infraction. Then again, you might decide, as the dons at Cambridge clearly did, that what had happened called for a measure of leniency. They knew that the student had never done anything like this before, and that he wasn’t well.” –

Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker

“Two years ago, he was indicted on multiple felony counts for downloading several million articles from the academic database jstor. It is not clear why he did this. He may have wanted to analyze the articles, or he may have intended to upload them onto the Web, so they could be accessed by anyone. It is clear that he did not anticipate the astonishing severity of the legal response.” –

Larissa Macfarquhar in The New Yorker

“This story thus encourages others to consider the long-term consequences of their own inventions with great care, lest those inventions do more harm than good” –

Somebody on Wikipedia

“I’m pleased to announce the

Support Our Strengths Act

– ensuring that our leaders in extraction science will be able fast track their work without interference from destructive fringe elements.” Prime Minister Vic Toews, 2018 press statement. Elected to Majority Government with the support 13% of eligible voters.


  1. So that we can tell you
  2. This is fiction. I hope

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