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Friday, January 31, 2014

Going Up? The Elevator Project...

Last night after all the people went in for Opening Night of Clybourne Park, I took off to Tix on the Square to get a ticket for The Elevator Project.  I missed it in the fall because I was out of town too much and too busy when I was in town, so I was glad to squeeze it in this cycle.  I tried to start at the Tix elevator, but unfortunately it was having technical difficulties so it was not operational.  So I headed off for the CN Tower. There was a long line up there so I boogied over to EPCOR and got in for that one, then back to the CN Tower, where I waited a bit for that one and then the long trek to CKUA and a wait for the third.

The three shows were very different.  With a five minute piece, I don't actually want to say too much about them specifically because of spoilers, but overall it was a very interesting experience. I was worried in the first one because as I stood in the tight space my mild claustrophobia started to bubble up, but the brevity of the pieces made it okay.  It's very intense to be 'right there' while an intimate conversation happens in front of you.  I went through weird thought processes about how I should be personally engaging.  Do I laugh? Do I look at them? Do we clap at the end?  I wavered between elevator etiquette and theatre etiquette.  It was very, very interesting.  Like Shoot, Get Treasure, Repeat (which I saw at Fringe a few years ago), this was a theatrical experience greatly affected by the space.  The elevator has it's own rules about intimacy and eye-contact.  Breaking those rules to watch the show produced a myriad of emotional reactions in me. One of my friends said she had to watch a show sideways because she found she could not stand in the elevator without facing the front.  She tried to turn and watch, but had to turn front because standing sideways just felt wrong.  Our patterns of interacting with a space like an elevator are conditioned and when we break those conditions it affects us.

I think it would have been better if I had gone with a  friend (although I did bump into a couple of people I knew), because I think part of the experience would have been enhanced by a post play conversation and the wait at some sites was long as they could only have so many people in the elevator at a time.  Having someone to pass that time with would have been nice.  Also, it's a bit of a hike from site to site and that is nicer to do with a companion. I did have no trouble getting in my daily steps on my fitbit! Theatre as exercise! You have to love that.  I would recommend dressing warm.  I should have worn a hat and maybe a better scarf as I was not dressed as well as I should have been. You should also plan for 2 hours of time.  It might take less, but that will depend on how many other people are out for the adventure.

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