The Stranger (DopoLavoroTeatrale) 2014 SummerWorks Review

The_Stranger

Mama always told you not to talk to strangers … but hasn’t a stranger on the street ever caught your eye? Have you ever had the desire to just follow a stranger to see where they will lead you? Now’s your chance. DopoLavoroTeatrale wants to send you on an exciting, immersive adventure with The Stranger, presented as part of the Live Art series in Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival.

The Stranger is a conspiracy thriller with a twist; you’re the star at the centre of this story. It’s immersive theatre for an audience of one, in which you, the lone audience member, embark on an individual journey through a world of intrigue and rendezvous with a collection of mysterious characters for a series of one-on-one interactions.

After purchasing your ticket you’re instructed to show up on a downtown street corner at the prescribed time with a fully-charged cell phone. Before long a stranger emerges from the throng of people walking by, checks you in for the show (you’re asked to surrender your e-mail address and phone number for the interactive elements in the performance) and sends you off to chase “strangers” (sometimes literally) down back alleys, into industrial buildings, through parks and along the streets of downtown Toronto.

Throughout the experience you’re given clues as a mysterious story unravels around you, and you eventually assume an alter ego within the universe of The Stranger. It’s engaging, interactive and participatory. Expect to dialogue with many of the characters, you’ll have to think on your feet and flex those improv skills.

There’s something so exhilarating about being thrust into this imaginary universe and asked to play along. It really awakened a childlike sense of wonder, and I’m not embarrassed to admit I was giddy with excitement throughout.

I loved the fact that in any given scene the actor is performing exclusively for you, one-on-one. It’s very intimate. I also enjoyed the parts in between the actual scenes where I was waiting to meet the next character; the show takes place in a real-world setting and the performance is essentially overlaid on top of reality, so I found myself scanning the faces of the strangers around me wondering which one of them was part of the show. At times it’s downright thrilling.

After a few days’ break, during which you may be contacted for additional interactions and given further clues, events culminate in Episode 2. Although I couldn’t help but feel a bit let down when part 2 wasn’t as sleek or well orchestrated as the earlier episode and left a lot of questions unanswered. Regardless, Episode 1 alone is well worth the ticket price.

Don’t miss your chance to participate in this unique immersive theatre experience. Places are limited so book your ticket to meet The Stranger soon!

Details:

The Stranger is a theatrical “serial” composed of two separate episodes.

Show times:

EPISODE 1

Starting Location: Queen Street West and Augusta Avenue, South East corner. Pick up tickets from Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Ave.)

Dates:
*Wednesday August 13
*Thursday August 14
*Friday August 15
*Saturday August 16

Times:
4:25pm
4:50pm
5:15pm
5:40pm
6:05pm
6:55pm
7:20pm
7:45pm
8:10pm
8:35pm
9:00pm
9:25pm

EPISODE 2

Location: The Theatre Centre Incubator (1115 Queen St. W.)

Date / Time: * Sunday, August 17, 7:00pm

Tickets $20

Tickets are available online at http://summerworks.ca, By phone by calling the Ticketwise Call Centre at 416-907-0468, in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth – located at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West) August 5th-17th from 10AM – 7PM

Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows

Photo by Tommaso Branconi

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