Back in the late 90’s early 2000’s there was a rising boom of what we now know as Augmented Reality Games. This was before smart phones and other “direct” ways to play, so these games were built on email, phone calls and the need to travel to specific locations to continue the story. With The Invisible City, DopoLavoro Teatrale has brought this style of immersive play to SummerWorks, providing a 24 hour immersive experience to its five member audience.
My journey to the Invisible City isn’t exactly one that can be described in detail. Half the fun of it is the mystery of what is to come, so I apologize in advance for sounding vague.
The experience begins with a conference call with a man from the future. It becomes very clear that The Invisible City is much more about the Audience than the “show” itself; throughout we’re asked questions about ourselves and our lives that I find surprisingly easy to answer despite sometimes getting rather personal. Perhaps it’s the ephemeral feeling of it all, that we’re not likely to interact in the future so there’s no need to hold anything back.
The four members of the cast make occasional appearances throughout our 24 hours but they mostly act as guides, taking us from location to location or giving a short monologue before giving us a task. We also receive emails giving us times and locations to be at plus additional discretionary tasks to perform alone.
I have mixed feelings on this; on the one hand the whole experience feels very fluid and well orchestrated, never stumbling in getting me from moment to moment without breaking stride. But, at the same time, a part of me feels like I’m doing all the work. Perhaps that’s the point, with everything happening out of sight so I couldn’t see the strings pulling at me.
SummerWorks is known for their experimental performances and The Invisible City fits right into that ethos; I even struggle to call it a performance but instead think of it as a whole experience. That experience is something I couldn’t help but enjoy. This is very much a Your Mileage May Vary situation; if you’re looking for something that could remotely be considered Traditional Theatre this isn’t for you, but if you’re interested in being placed with four strangers and finding a way to create a shared moment with them, The Invisible City is worth checking out.
The Invisible City plays at various locations throughout Toronto.
A series of additional activities are scheduled continuously for 24 hours. Participation in these activities is at the audience member’s discretion.
Participants are asked to experience Episode 1 from their homes.
Locations of Episode 2, additional activities and instructions about Episode 1 will be revealed before you experience the performance. Booking in advance is mandatory. Very limited audience capacity.
Saturday August 5th 9:30pm – 24hrs
Saturday August 5th 11:00pm – 24hrs
Tuesday August 8th 9:30pm – 24hrs
Tuesday August 8th 11:00pm – 24hrs
Wednesday August 9th 9:30pm – 24hrs
Wednesday August 9th 11:00pm – 24hrs
Thursday August 10th 9:30pm – 24hrs
Thursday August 10th 11:00pm – 24hrs
Friday August 11th 9:30pm – 24hrs
Friday August 11th 11:00pm – 24hrs
Saturday August 12th 9:30pm – 24hrs
Saturday August 12th 11:00pm – 24hrs
SummerWorks tickets are now Pay What You Decide at $15, $25, or $35, whichever suits your budget. All tickets are general admission and there are no limits to any price level. Tickets are available at the performance venue (cash only), online and in person at the SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street). Open August 1-13 from 10am-7pm. Cash and credit accepted.
Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 7 shows.
Image provided by the Company