IT’S HARD TO COUNT TO A MILLION By One Reed Theatre Ensemble, directed by Daniel Mroz. February 20-24 at 8 pm.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: A MANIFESTO Conceived and directed by Gideon Arthurs. February 20-24 at 9:15 pm. Rating: NNNNN
Megan Flynn has her hands full with two bunches of Rhubarb.
As part of the remarkable ensemble troupe One Reed Theatre, she’s creating and performing It’s Hard To Count To A Million, which looks at binary systems, queer British mathe-matician Alan Turing and audience choice.
Then she’s acting in Gideon Arthurs’s Where The Wild Things Are: A Manifesto, which updates and politicizes Maurice Sendak’s children’s classic about a mischievous, imaginative boy.
Million grew out of One Reed’s obsession with numbers.“The seed was the task of counting from one to a million,” recalls Flynn. “In our massive research, we came upon the story of Turing, who broke the German Enigma code during WWII and was later revealed to be gay.
“He devised an imaginary machine with infinite operational abilities that was based on the binary system. It was the origin, of course, of the computer.”
The company has written a radio variety show that covers Turing’s work and also the dilemma in which he found himself when superiors discovered his sexual orientation.
“We’re exploring the material somewhat differently than we did in previous workshops,” says Flynn, who was memorable last year in Will Eno’s solo show Lady Grey (In Ever-Lower Light).
“There’ll be song, dance and storytelling, but the audience will be involved in a crucial decision at the start.
“The company is interested in giving choice to viewers, which in turn gives a shifting and subjective value to the production’s several elements. The audience chooses the order of those elements, and, given the nature of Rhubarb, the context of that choice includes an open bar and a wild, experimental format.
“Our last workshop at Lab Cab was intentionally stark, minimal and a bit cold. This time we’re working in a party atmosphere.”The Sendak-inspired piece turns Max, the book’s central figure, into a grown-up performance/conceptual artist who validates his philosophy in a fantasy land of organic food and moral superiority.
“It’s a Brechtian adaptation, relying on an epic form that instructs the audience,” adds Flynn. “Like Million, it looks at concepts of right and wrong, so it never seem to stray very far from binary systems.”
RHUBARB A festival of new works (Buddies in Bad Times, 12 Alexander). February 20-March 2. $15, week pass $20. 416-975-8555, www.artsexy.ca.
Another RHUBARB play preview here.