BOX2 by Kendra Fanconi, Paul Ternes, Andrew Laurenson and Craig Hall, directed by Hall, performed by Fanconi, Ternes and Laurenson. Presented by Radix Theatre at the Stem Diner (354 Queen West). October 16-20 at 7 pm. $15, food not included.
Box2 will give new meaning to the term "dinner theatre" when the customers at the Stem Diner suddenly find themselves in the middle of a surreal performance.Presented by Vancouver's Radix Theatre, the show was a hit at the 99 Vancouver Fringe and went on to win a pair of Jessies, the equivalent of Toronto's Dora Awards.
It's one of Free Fall's several site-specific presentations, a type of performance Radix has specialized in since the late 80s.
Earlier shows were staged under a bridge, at a busy crosswalk and in an Ikea store. In the last, called The Swedish Play, the audience listened on portable radios to a broadcast that filled them in on the objects and people around them.
"We see the usual black-box space as elitist and exclusionary, a venue you have to pay a hefty price to enter," says Radix co-artistic director and performer Andrew Laurenson, on the phone from the West Coast. "What we create is readily available, often free and in public view. Edgy and weird is our motto. "
One of the company's early members was Stephen O'Connell, who moved to Montreal and later to Toronto, a member of bluemouth inc. and -- not by chance -- co-organizer of Free Fall.
In Box2, a busboy, waiter and cook fulfill their traditional duties but start to reveal their inner lives in increasingly bizarre ways. Video, dance and music add to the unreal quality of the presentation.
"Audiences get a deeper experience from a site-specific work," says Laurenson. "They're not distanced from the action as they are in the theatre, but included in the event."