Last week I took in The Genius Code at C103. The Genius Code began in the Summer of 2012, originated by Jonathan Kawchuk and Jon Lachlan Stewart. It stars Jamie Cavanagh, Cole Humeny, and Laura Metcalfe, with design by Cory Sincennes and Matt Schuurman, and choreography by Ainsley Hillyard. It is a live play where each individual audience member listens through their own set of headphones, choosing which character to follow in a three person love tragedy set in the modern day. I was a bit worried about which headset to choose, as I worried no matter what I chose, I would miss something. But once there, I decided to pick Red and just see what would happen. My friend, @catharooni, chose White and we figured we could compare afterwards.
The story is about a trio - DJ Genius Code, aka Gene Cody, has never been in love, in every sense of the word, but, inspired by a sparked romance between two of his best friends, Gyl and Sky, Gene brings the two lovers together, and begins creating an experimental album of music using their voices, conversations; their entire lives. The Genius Code is an innovative theatre experience bringing each audience member three different choices of a story.
I worried beforehand about how wearing headphones might interfere with the engagement with the piece, but I was delighted with how the production dealt with that. Everything was routed through the head phones and the the specific colour/character you chose merely augmented the perspective of the story telling. I was following Gyl, @catharooni was following Gene. I really liked the whole headset thing. If I had more time I would go back again and see the other two perspectives (in fact, you can at a reduced rate: From Catalyst Theatre: Want to see The Genius Code again and listen to a new character? Well if you come back with proof of purchase from a previous performance (program, receipt from Tix etc) - you can see the show again for just $15! Available at the door only. The show returns tomorrow night at 8p.m.). I was actually disappointed when we were told to remove them. There was a really cool effect, however, because certain members of the audience were getting pieces of information at different times and from different perspectives so our staggered laughter was picked up by the mics and it was very cool. You got a sense of the layers of the story, even though you couldn't hear all of them.
i will admit I was most impressed with the concept and the effect on my reception of the story. It's all well acted with strong writing, wonderful choreography and a very cool set and projections that were 100% integrated and which felt necessary to the piece as a whole. The story itself was a challenge for me to connect to, but I was impressed with the dedication. It just got a little too removed from my personal experience of relationships for me to truly connect. That being said, I did find it compelling and, like I said earlier, if I had the time I would go back for a second time to check out a different perspective.
Some really cool stuff happening in the show.