PERFORMANCE GALLERY: INSIDE THE BOX. Twenty intimate performances created and presented by artists from various disciplines at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen West), August 6-9 and 13-16, 7 to 9 pm. Pwyc. See listings.
Like your theatre intimate? you can't get more up-close and personal than the SummerWorks Performance Gallery, returning for a series of brief shows that repeat several times a night in various rooms and hallways of the Gladstone Hotel.[rssbreak]
Take The Distance Between Us (August 13-16), in which Clinton Walker has a tête-à-tête with one viewer at a time.
"I'm interested in exploring personal space," says Walker. "Hundreds of times a day we try not to interact with people as we walk down the street. What if I set up that scenario with a total stranger but then manufacture a cathartic experience with him or her that suggests a bigger picture?
"It's a different kind of theatrical experience than you can have in a room full of people."
Sedina Fiati wants to pull people out of themselves in a different fashion. In It's Your Pin Up (August 7), she gathers costumes and allows visitors to be the subject of pin-up or beefcake photos.
"I did a shoot like this for my cabaret The Sedina Show and realized it was a performance all on its own," smiles Fiati, who's also part of the festival's The Centre. "It's different from traditional theatre in being participatory - though people can also watch - and the participants' gender doesn't limit their costume choices."
Choreographer Jannine Saarinen has four dancers surrounding the audience in Four Walls (August 13), with each performer offering an individual point of view and relating differently to each other and viewers.
"I was told to consider this series as a living art gallery, and I think I've mirrored that art-come-to-life quality in my show."
In Chiaroscuro (A Modern Diorama) (August 6), Diana Kolpak experiments with a novel form of storytelling: a series of covered boxes reveal parts of a mysterious narrative through light and shadow. The gimmick? Audience members choose which box to open when.
Lindsey Clark and Jonathan Seinen rely on sound and silence in Like My Life, My Dreams Are Marked By Your Absence... (August 8 and 15).
"This isn't a participatory show," notes Clark, who's also in The Epic Of Gilgamesh, while Seinen appears in The Nick Drake Project. "Viewers will have a novel experience that combines theatre and music, with an emphasis on garage band sound."
Participation is crucial in Sperm Bank: Two Jews In Search of A Sperm Donor (August 6-9), in which Shira Leuchter and Julie Tepperman play a lesbian couple looking for that special fertilizer.
"We're hoping women will suggest what to look for, while men will be interviewed as potential donors," says Leuchter. "We'll have interactive games, questionnaires and a vote at the end of the evening.
"The idea is to challenge our work as artists and also make theatre fun; we want to play with the audience in a way none of us is used to, and everyone can have a beer at the end of the evening."[rssbreak]