Interactive theatre blends with a pick up game of basketball in Monday Nights at Toronto’s Theatre Centre
I unabashedly love immersive interactive theatre performance works. I am entirely biased — they just make me happy. Playing at the Theatre Centre, Monday Nights fits beautifully into this category. It is a fun piece about basketball. Super simple, but thoroughly charming.
This work started in 2008 as a group of friends meeting on Monday Nights to play ball and relieve a bit of stress at the same time. Over the past six years it has gone through a number of stages until it reached the Theatre Centre. 6th Man Collective have been in residency at the Theatre Centre since 2012 developing the work that they are now sharing.
Waiting in the lobby for the show to start our host and referee gave us our first instructions: walk into the theatre and explore the four players’ bags waiting on the floor for us. Each bag had a distinct personality: the rocker personality, the stereotypical actors bag, the family oriented bag, and the nerd bag. Each bag had personal items in it from lottery tickets to head shots and scripts, old photographs of family members to a fake sword. Once everyone had picked a team, that’s when the show really began.
The players came out and were introduced to us via head sets, while they played a friendly game of ball. We got to know our team leader quite well as the other players talked about his personality and some of his faults both on and off the court.
From rummaging around in the actors gym bags and listening to stories about them, I started to wonder how much of this is real and how much is fake. Sometimes in immersive or interactive works the actor sheds their role as actor and approaches the audience as themselves. The information that we were being told through our headsets felt like it was coming from experience and not a script.
After this came the truly interactive part, the audience was invited to participate in a friendly competition featuring basketball games. (I was score keeper – our team won in a tie with 26 points!) All in all, it was a super fun night. The predominately adult audience got a laugh out of the competition and the few children who were dragged along were definitely not left out.
- Monday Nights is playing until September 20 at The Theatre Centre, Main Hall (1115 Queen St. W.)
- Shows run Sunday to Monday at 7:30pm, with an additional matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 1.30pm
- Ticket prices range from $25 – $30, with PWYC on Sunday, and are available online, or through the box office at 416-538-0988
Photo of Darrel Gamotin, Colin Doyle, Byron Abalos, Richard Lee, and Jeff Yung photo by Dahlia Katz