The Stranger is a wholly unique, one-on-one theatre experience in the Toronto area
Do you ever wonder about that person who just passed you on the street? What’s her story? Do you ever eavesdrop on her conversation? Do you ever follow her? Do you ever say something? Do you wish you could? The Stranger (DopoLavoroTeatrale) is a one-on-one immersive and interactive experience that allows and encourages you to do all those things.
It’s also a very hard piece to write about without giving too much away. So I’ll start by saying that it was one of the coolest and most exciting pieces of theatre I’ve seen this year. I highly recommend it.
I went into the evening with absolutely no idea what to expect, and I think that enhanced my experience. If that’s enough for you, you can stop reading now and go buy your tickets.
The Stranger truly is one-on-one. It’s designed for one audience member at a time. You are the protagonist, and the city is the stage. Once you purchase your ticket, you will be sent an email with the secret start location in the Queen West area. You are instructed to dress for the weather, wear comfortable shoes, and bring a fully charged cell phone.
I arrived at the location at the scheduled time as instructed. Actually, I walked back and forth a few times across the street first, trying to figure out who my contact was and if they were already waiting for me. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, my experience had already begun.
My contact was easy to find. She gave me an armband and a phone number to call if I got lost or confused. Then she led me about a block away and told me to wait and observe the people around me.
So I stood there on the corner and waited. I was a little anxious and uncertain. What was I getting myself into? Very quickly, a woman walked by and whispered at me to follow her. And my adventure began.
For the next two hours, I was walking, running, dancing, and singing through the streets and alleyways of downtown Toronto in search of “The Stranger.” I was led in and out of buildings. People emerged from the crowd to talk with me, ask me questions, and give me clues where to go next.
It was a strange but thrilling night. I knew that most of the people I was interacting with were actors, but the lines between theatre and reality began to blur. Some of the episodes seemed just like regular conversations. They asked me about myself, and I asked them questions back. But were they telling me the truth? And did I need to tell them the truth?
Despite the uncertainty about who I was supposed to talk to and where I was supposed to go, I never felt unsafe or scared. Things became clear as each interaction unfolded along my journey. The most unsettling part was actually some of the questions I was asked. They really made me think about what being a stranger means. Are we strangers to ourselves?
I can’t stop thinking about The Stranger and would love to do it again to see how changing my choices and reactions would change the experience. My start time was in the early evening and it was still light out for most of it. I imagine doing it later and in the dark would add a whole other dimension to the piece.
If you are up for an adventure, get your tickets now. It’s a great night.
- The Stranger runs September 20 – October 9, 2016.
- Performances start every 25 minutes Tuesday – Friday, 5pm-9:20pm and Saturday – Sunday, 3pm – 8:10pm. Last slot everyday is a VIP ticket which includes secret content and an alternate ending.
- Tickets can be purchased online.
- The show is designed for one audience member at a time.
Photo provided by the company.