My Toronto Fringe Festival experience began this year in a cozy vintage store in Kensington Market called Flashback Vintage. The air is thick with that comforting, musty scent of well-used objects kept in storage. I, and my fellow audience members, stroll around the shop, familiarizing ourselves with the merchandise and hunting for the object we were told would be ours for the duration of Discord and Din Theatre’s site-specific show there/GONE.
The show is about objects, specifically: the acquisition and loss of objects. By exploring the concept of finding and losing objects, the performing members of [elephants] collective strive to get at the heart of what objects mean to us.
This piece was hit or miss for me—mostly miss. There is an abundance of fertile ground here for the seeds of thought and feeling, but those little sprouts simply haven’t had time to grow and develop into something solid.
We follow the three performers though the space and watch them interact with various objects. Some moments are resonant, others are not, some make their statement quickly, while others take their time. One particular sequence was so maddeningly repetitive that I lost all interest in it before it had a chance to pay off.
Then there were moments that hit home very unexpectedly. In my favourite sequence, a performer lists various accomplishments and aspirations only to end with “a moment of silence for all of the things you will never have.” I bowed my head, sure…and thought of my own ambitions and disappointments.
Michael Reinhart tells a series of stories about foreign travels and the objects that came and went from his life. His dulcet tone and slow rhythm fell flat. His delivery made the content of each story seem deeper than I felt it was.
Jenna Harris has a manic and friendly persona. She’s our guide through this show, serving as a bridge between the awkward reality of maneuvering within the cramped space and the illusion the performance is meant to create.
Thomas McKechnie spends the bulk of the performance in drag. He’s the most over-the-top, seemingly artificial presence, but I found him—ironically—the most genuine.
The space itself has enough atmosphere to hold your attention for an hour. The show is almost an excuse to browse the treasures in the racks. I certainly made a mental note of objects I would love to add to my life. That may sound dismissive, but the location truly is a well-used and inspired choice.
The show ends on a dark and ominous note that threw me. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but it involves plastic wrap and my (usually mild) claustrophobia flared up. It was, I admit, a haunting capper to an intriguing yet ungrounded work.
- there/GONE is playing until July 12 at Flashback Vintage (33 Kensington Avenue)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
- Mild audience participation
July 02 at 07:30 PM
July 03 at 07:30 PM
July 04 at 07:30 PM
July 05 at 07:30 PM
July 07 at 07:30 PM
July 08 at 07:30 PM
July 09 at 07:30 PM
July 10 at 07:30 PM
July 11 at 07:30 PM
July 12 at 07:30 PM
Photo of Jenna Harris by Michael Reinhart