iShow (Les Petites Cellules Chaudes) 2013 SummerWorks Review

ishow

iShow is a completely mind-blowing experience! Oh, I’m gushing. I can’t help it.  I went into this thinking it looked neat, but it moved me in ways I never expected. It hit nerves I didn’t even know I had. It is fun, and funny, and smart, and hypnotic, and sexy! It crept under my skin and now it won’t leave me alone.

This is a multi-media performance. Now, you should probably watch the very exciting trailer to get some sense of what that looks like. The show may not be to everyone’s taste. But if you have a sense of adventure, I urge you to give this show a chance. It might just rattle your brain and seize your heart too!

The show does not have a clearly defined beginning. When I walked into the Factory Theatre Mainspace, I was faced with 12 actors seated at a table, each with a Macbook. Above them is a large projection screen showcasing the live chats that our performers are having with strangers on sites like Chat Roulette.

While there is a definite structure to this show (with some scripted sequences), most of it is improvisational and consists of real interactions between the performers and these live strangers from around the globe.

The set-up is artificial, but the content of iShow is surprisingly genuine and never dull. The technical difficulties are not hidden and are, in fact, an integral part of the whole. The interactions are real. They are also comforting and familiar… because we recognize them as our world. Our social experience of people has become a blend of flesh and cyberspace.

There are some very entertaining dramatizations of popular YouTube videos. There are also some dark and haunting sequences that deal with recent unpleasant tragedies involving social networking technologies.

In the same casual spirit as the opening, the show doesn’t have a clearly defined ending. I don’t want to spoil the fun by revealing the specifics, but we, the audience, are very much left to our own devices at the end; we choose how the show will end for us.

I did not want to leave the theatre. It was as if the performers, and the online strangers, had become my friends. Heck, I saw a lot of them naked! (Yes, there is nudity. It is not gratuitous, and is mostly captured in projected video, but it is live.)

If I were allowed only one word to describe the essence of this breathtaking show, it would be this: sharing. The show is, on one level, a cerebral exploration of social media’s effect upon the way we relate to each other. But deeper than this, it immerses you in a shared experience on both an intimate and global scale.

iShow is one of the most inspiring theatrical experiences I’ve ever had, and a highlight of this SummerWorks season!

Details:

  • iShow plays at the Factory Theatre Mainspace (125 Bathurst St.)
  • Show times: Thursday August 8, 12:30 pm; Saturday August 10, 12:30 pm; Sunday August 11, 8:00 pm; Tuesday August 13, 3:00 pm; Wednesday August 14, 5:30 pm; Friday August 16, 12:30 pm; Saturday August 17, 8:00 pm.
  • All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at http://summerworks.ca, By phone by calling the Lower Ossington Box Office at 416-915-6747, in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth (located at 100A Ossington Avenue, first floor) Aug. 6-18 10AM-7PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)
  • Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows.

 Photo of iShow provided by Les Petites Cellules Chaudes.