e-DENTITY by Michael Spence, conceived and directed by Jacquie P.A. Thomas, featuring Ciara Adams, Conor Green, Lori Nancy Kalamanski, Alexis Milligan and Michael Spence. Presented by Theatre Gargantua at Artword Theatre (75 Portland). Runs to November 13, Wednesday to Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sun 2:30 pm. $20 -$25, Sun pwyc. 416-260-4660, www.theatregargantua.ca. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
So much has been written about the impact of the Internet on our daily lives and our culture that it seems little can have been left unsaid. But Theatre Gargantua has a few ideas about how the Web continues to shape who we are and how we interact with one another. Exploring chat rooms, blogs and webcasts with some very cool physical theatre, director Jacquie P.A. Thomas and writer Michael Spence shape a series of scenes featuring characters known only by screen monikers (if they have names at all) into an hour-long exploration of human interaction and evolution in the virtual - and visceral - sphere.
Imaginative staging places the actors in a boxy set with scrims across the front and back to capture Owen Milburn 's and Jeremy Rotsztain 's media design, a relentless, flickering stream of binary code, web pages and chat screens designed to disorient with a glut of light and colour.
The actors' constant vocalizations, percussive typing and restless motion work well with the smooth multimedia design.
These elements also illustrate the idea that we have subconsciously internalized something of the relentless static of computer technology. The fact is, technology has been so smoothly integrated into our lives that we barely recognize its presence any more. Conceptually strong, e-Dentity boasts great performances by the ensemble of five, whose seamless teamwork ensures that their message comes across clearly. There's plenty of text and physical theatre to anchor the more esoteric elements.
Dance segments, including an acrobatic ensemble chair dance performed at breakneck speed with neon rope in black light, add excitement and move the show along.
Although it's probably a stage manager's technical nightmare, e-Dentity's theatricality and light touch should guarantee it a good run for communications and culture buffs alike.
There's little else like it.