In addition to the epic All Our Tragic, I recently saw Since I Suppose, a production by Australian group, one step at a time. It has to be one of the most unique performances I’ve ever seen. The play is based loosely on Measure for Measure. Only one person can experience it at a time; it’s a very personal performance. (Though I think they stagger it by twenty minutes). They asked participants not to reveal the secrets of the show so I’ll talk generally about it.
The performance was like a walking tour, LARP or video game, and play mixed together. I had to show up at a certain spot at my designated time to await a phone call. I was later given a phone and headphones that were my primary narrator for the play. The phone would tell me what to do and where to go. It was a combination of audio and video. The crazy part was that I had to follow the video. When a character walked down an alley or into a building, I had to follow them down the same alley or building. It was crazy watching the digital world map onto the real world. I was led all throughout the Loop and River North into a variety of buildings. It was such a private celebration of the city and the play at the same time. It took the familiar world and shifted it into new, sometimes terrifying possibilities. It also played with our obsession with our phones. Often times people are so engrossed with their phones, they miss out on the world around them. Here I had to be glued to the phone but I’d have moments of shock when the real world bumped into this uneasy fictional world.
There were interactions with actual people that were thrilling and poignant. I occasionally had tasks or decisions to make. I was blindfolded several times. There were a few moments where I definitely had the thought: “These guys better be legit or I’m taking some serious chances.” Very thrilling.
My favorite real world meets play moment was when I was waiting in a bar for a character to engage me in the next scene. A man with a very fake mustache asked me to find a place to wait for him. There wasn’t any place free so I asked these two guys if I could hang out for a few moments at their table (there was a spare seat). One of them said, “Sure. You’re a lot less creepy than that mustachioed man who was waiting here before.” And then the actor came over and I’m fairly certain he added to this bar patron’s sense of uneasiness. Oh, it was a wonderful unstaged moment.
I’d say go and see the play if you can but it apparently has sold out. So I’d recommend looking out for it in the future when this group hopefully comes back to Chicago with new mischief.