War Tapes, a show by Cordwainer Productions in the Toronto Fringe Festival currently playing at the Factory Theatre Mainspace, provides its audience with an interesting perspective on the intimacy that is in our high-tech world. This play of ideas does a good job of framing this issue and leaves its audience in a good place to start coming up with conclusions of its own.
War Tapes began as prose, out of exchanges writer Christian Metaxas had with director Dane Shumak about the relationship between technology and intimacy. Does technology necessarily make people less close, or differently close? Does it necessarily have to have a particular effect at all?
Embodying this theme is Peter Naccarato as Kendra Christopherson, a university student still recovering from a recent breakup with his girlfriend Rebecca and trying to live his life. Kendra goes to class; he plays online games with his friends over headsets; he talks on the phone with his family; he even has encounters with different women. The life he lives is the one that an increasingly large number of people around the world are living. The audience sees the scenario play out before them.
War Tapes appeals to me as an exploration of ideas. The script does a good job of presenting the ideas being discussed, even ideas like the nature of reality and what reality actually includes. It does so while also building believable characters and putting them in situations which feel credible. War Tapes even has a sense of humour: This is the first play I’ve ever see that has talked about a waifu. This play does an excellent job of introducing people to a debate.
The presentation of War Tapes was worthy of its script. Naccarato did a great job as Kendra, the anchor of this play’s action. The supporting cast was also strong, whether we’re talking about Kendra’s gaming partners as played by Connor Edmondson (Jackie), Michael Lake (Stephen), and director Dane Shumak (Jeffrey), or Bronte German and Margaret Rose-Keery as (among other roles) his thwarted female friends and partners. The crew also did a good job of maintaining the stage for this technology-heavy production, with the seamless integration of Kendra’s online universe onto the big screen via projector.
War Tapes is not a drama that concerns itself with great sweeping changes. It is, rather, a quieter play, one that uses incidents in characters’ ordinary life to explore pressing questions of our contemporary world. Theatre-going audiences who are interested in the issue of technology in society will find much to like here.
- War Tapes is playing until July 9 at the Factory Theatre Mainspace. (125 Bathurst Street)
- Tickets are $12 at the door and in advance, and can be bought online, by telephone (416-966-106http://fringetoronto.com/fringe-festival/shows/war-tapes/2), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
- Content Warnings: Smoking, Sexual Content, Mature Language.
- This venue is not wheelchair-accessible.
- June 30th at 8:15 pm
- July 2nd at 5:15 pm
- July 4th at 10:45 pm
- July 6th at 1:45 pm
- July 7th at 11:00 pm
- July 8th at 8:00 pm
- July 9th at 9:45 pm
Graphic of War Tapes at the Toronto Fringe.