Toronto’s Outside the March takes on love, sex, technology & the future in a new immersive show
Think back ten or fifteen years ago and remember what dating was like. Who could’ve predicted that today, we’d be able to use apps to swipe and match with dozens of people (whom we subsequently never message), or use geolocation to find someone to hook up with in a set radius, or snap and send nude photos of ourselves that disappear after they’re viewed.
Disruptive technologies have profoundly changed the sociological nature of relationships. Projecting forward, what might the nature of dating, love and relationships look like in the future? That’s the question that playwright Rosamund Small explores in her new play TomorrowLove™, currently being staged in an immersive, site-specific production in Toronto by Outside the March.
Concepts like love, dating and relationships aren’t often explored with much depth in futurism. Small’s collection of scenes hint at futuristic technologies like full-body avatars and thought imaging, but the heart of each of the scenes are real, human relationships, and there’s a universality that underlies each dialogue. The content is surprisingly relatable; throughout the show I’d often recall times I experienced similar situations in previous relationships.
Outside the March is known for their inventive staging, and the twist they throw into this production is that it’s never the same show twice. TomorrowLove™ is comprised of several scenes for two actors: there are eight character tracks in the show, and at the top of each performance, each of the eight actors in the cast is assigned one of the tracks at random. Part of the fun would be to come back and see the show again to see the different permutations and combinations of actors in the various roles.
That particular device works well, but I thought that other parts of the staging weren’t as successful. Firstly, I didn’t think the immersive element really added to the experience; the audience is just ushered about a series of rooms set up as small auditoriums. The location has no real bearing on the scenes in the show other than being styled as vaguely futuristic neutral spaces. I just think Outside the March has incorporated these elements better in their past shows.
As an audience member you are given a small degree of agency over your experience; at the conclusion of each scene, you have a choice of which actor to follow for the next scene. However, in any given performance you’ll only experience four of the play’s 15 scenes (another compelling reason to make a return visit).
Outside the March has assembled a stellar cast for this show. At my performance I watched scenes featuring Katherine Cullen, Cyrus Lane, Paul Dunn, and Oyin Oladejo. Regrettably, I didn’t have the opportunity to see the remainder of the cast–Damien Atkins, Amy Keating, Mayko Nguyen, and Anand Rajaram–except briefly in the initial and final scenes.
The acting (at least in the scenes I got to see) is superb. My evening ended with a scene depicting someone suffering a mental breakdown after a trauma (Oladejo) and the affect it has on their steadfastly supportive partner (Cullen). The pair had amazing chemistry and the resulting scene was electrifying. The fact that this particular pair of actors may or may not have ever performed that scene together before made the feat even more amazing.
Speaking for the scenes I saw, I thought the writing was smart and the performances were compelling. I’d be really interested in making a return visit to see some of the scenes I missed the first time or maybe re-watch a scene I’ve seen before with different cast members in the mix.
- TomorrowLove™ is playing through December 18 at The Aorta (733 Mount Pleasant Road)
- Shows run Tuesday – Sunday at 8:00PM and Sunday at 2:00PM
- Tickets ($40 General / $30 Arts Worker and Under 30) are available available online.
Photo by Neil Silcox