Outside the March’s That Synching Feeling, playing in Toronto as part of the SummerWorks Festival, explores the paradox of the Information Age: through digital communications technology we’re now more connected to other people than ever before in the history of humankind and yet we’re increasingly isolated and alone.
However, being alone is not the same as being lonely…
Performed for an audience of 30 people who are instructed to keep their smartphones on, connected and un-muted throughout, the show consists of two separate but thematically-linked performances.
I Wish I Was Lonely is an poem written by Hannah Walker and Chris Thorpe that waxes philosophically on our increasing dependence on our smartphones and what the ramifications of that addiction is to our lives and to society at large.
Performers Alex McCooeye and Nicola Elbro perform the poem in fits and starts, interspersing their own original content and, at various times, prompt audience members to do things like leave a message on a stranger’s voicemail, send anonymous text messages to other audience members or stare intently into another person’s eyes Marina Abramović-style. The performance essentially becomes an interactive, collaborative epic poem.
It’s more of a mediation than a dissertation; McCooeye and Elbro offer anecdotes and there’s a certain nostalgia at times for a less-connected era but they don’t necessarily explore the topic in a lot of depth and stop short of making any judgement call as to whether our hyper-connectedness is ultimately good or bad.
Interestingly, at one point, as my phone sat on the ground in front of me buzzing away as a friend repeatedly texted me mid-performance I couldn’t help but tear my focus away from the show to look down to try to read the screen and became annoyed when I couldn’t. I was amazed at how much separation anxiety and FoMO I was experiencing with my phone just out of arm’s reach… Point beautifully illustrated.
The other part of the show is Tethered Together, a unique, 30-minute social experiment where audience members connect and engage with each other through a series of (guided) interactions. Before long, I found myself engaged in an intimate and increasingly personal conversation with a complete stranger. It felt strangely liberating but also a little bit scary.
Ultimately, That Synching Feeling is an engaging and thought-provoking meditation on the nature of our hyper-connectedness that’s also interactive and a lot of fun. I definitely recommend it as an experience.
That Synching Feeling plays at The Lab (3rd Floor) 483 Queen St. W
- Thursday August 6th 8:00 PM
- Thursday August 6th 8:30 PM
- Friday August 7th 8:00 PM
- Friday August 7th 8:30 PM
- Saturday August 8th 8:00 PM
- Saturday August 8th 8:30 PM
- Sunday August 9th 8:00 PM
- Sunday August 9th 8:30 PM
- Tuesday August 11th 8:00 PM
- Tuesday August 11th 8:30 PM
- Wednesday August 12th 8:00 PM
- Wednesday August 12th 8:30 PM
- Thursday August 13th 8:00 PM
- Thursday August 13th 8:30 PM
- Friday August 14th 8:00 PM
- Friday August 14th 8:30 PM
- Saturday August 15th 8:00 PM
- Saturday August 15th 8:30 PM
- Sunday August 16th 8:00 PM
- Sunday August 16th 8:30 PM
Individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Live Art Series tickets are free – $20. Tickets are available online at http://summerworks.ca, by phone at 888-328-8384, Monday – Friday 8:30am-5pm, in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth – located at SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St). Open August 4-16 from 10am-7pm (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)
Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows
Photo provided by the company