STATIC written and directed by Laura Mullin and Chris Tolley (Expect Theatre/Spark Collective/New World Stage). At the Studio Theatre (235 Queens Quay West). To April 8. $25. 416-973-4000. Rating: NN Rating: NN
If you've ever wondered about all those private corridors and hidden rooms in Harbourfront Centre's York Quay Centre, you get a good feel for them during Static, Laura Mullin and Chris Tolley's walkabout piece that's purportedly about fear and alienation.
But the memory of the setting, some good performances and the sight of streetcars outside (oh to be on one of them!) is all you'll walk away with.
After a piercing gunshot (you've been warned), late-night security guard Max (Clinton Walker) hysterically confronts us. Is he about to go postal? I guess we're going to find out. Oh, but first we need to put on an MP3 player.
This electronic gimmick - the tracks play harried phone calls and news reports about everything from 9/11 to the JFK assassination - is supposed to prepare us for some of the scenes to come. They don't. They're distracting, awkward and actually detract from the experience of walking around the building, much as Max would do on his rounds.
At the stations, we meet people in Max's life - his sick dad, his lonely wife, an old man he sees on the street - and are supposed to learn what led to his meltdown. We don't. The script is vague and unclear.
As in Mullin and Tolley's Romeo/Juliet Remixed, there are clever bits of staging. A red carpet effectively becomes a scarf during one theatrical moment, and the final scene gives us a nightmarish point of view.
Most of the cast appear uncertain about how they should play scenes, but Walker adds humanity to his characters, especially when he walks up to an audience member, takes his hand and talks about the need for human connection. It's a rare moment of grace in a chaotic and unsatisfying show.