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'City Council Meeting' turns audience members into actors

February 04, 2013

When Aaron Landsman watches a city council meeting, he doesn’t see a boring gathering of local politicians who talk a lot of municipal mumbo jumbo. Rather, he views it as great theater.

“Unlike national politics, council meetings are amazing in that things actually get done by people who disagree with each other,” said Landsman.

Landsman’s “City Council Meeting: The Complicated and Ironic Maneuvering of Politicians” will kick off the spring 2013 Humanities Lecture series, which is hosted by ASU’s Down School of Letters and Sciences on the Downtown Phoenix campus. The lecture and 25-minute demonstration is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Feb. 7, at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave., room 128. The lecture series is free and open to the public. All public parking in the downtown area is free after 6 p.m.

“City Council Meeting” is an engaging and participatory theatrical adventure created by Landsman, director Mallory Catlett and designer Jim Findlay, all of whom are based in New York City. The team visited local city council meetings in San Antonio, Portland, New York and Tempe to create a production that allows audience members to become actors, actors observers and elected officials to do both as the performance takes attendees to the intersection of life and theater.

“Hopefully everyone who attends will view council meetings with a different lens so that we can see how we govern ourselves in a new way,” Landsman said.

Landsman makes theater for many kinds of spaces. His work and plays have been commissioned and produced in Oslo, Minsk, New York, Detroit, Houston and Lund. Also an actor, Landsman has performed with Elevator Repair Service Theater since 2004 and appeared in the work of many directors and choreographers. He teaches workshops for artists nationwide. 

For more information on the spring 2013 Humanities Lecture Series, call Mirna Lattouf at 602-496-0638 or email her at