STATIC written and directed by Laura Mullin and Chris Tolley (Expect Theatre/Spark Collective/New World Stage). At York Quay Centre (235 Queens Quay West). March 28 to April 8. $25. 416-973-4000. Rating: NNNNN
In static, the latest new world Stage show, you not only get to hear about the central character's life. You get to walk around inside it.
Created by Laura Mullin and Chris Tolley (Romeo/Juliet REMIXED), the multimedia piece looks at Max, a fictional security guard at Harbourfront's York Quay Centre, where the action takes place.
As we follow Max around the building, we also wander into his past and future, examining what defines him.
"I love doing a site-specific piece like this," says Clinton Walker, veteran of other walkabout shows, who plays Max
. "I think audiences become more engaged when they physically take part in what they experience.
"I remember when I did Sleeproom, another show where the audience moved around, how surprised viewers were every time they came to a different room. They lost the safety of sitting comfortably in a traditional theatre's darkness."
Static focuses on Max's fears, some of which we can all relate to.
"He's become immobilized by his fears to such an extent that, on this evening, he'll decide whether to do something that will alter his life forever. In making that decision, he replays episodes that led to this tipping point."
Walker, who recently performed in The Danish Play, mentions two sources of Max's fear: traumatic events he's undergone and anxieties he's inherited.
"We become the people who nurture and raise us. We take on their fears as well as their desires and dreams.
"What's exciting for me about this project is that it's a whole-package deal. I get to play Max's father and his son, and deal with the links that precede and follow him in this family chain."
Even before all the elements of the show were woven together, Walker pre-recorded parts of it that the audience will hear on MP3 players.
"It's strange to dive into a heated emotional place on the recordings before I meet the whole creative team," he smiles. "But it's a challenge that I'm enjoying.
"After all, the rest of the play isn't chronological either, so I think these early recordings will feed that jumping-around quality. This is, after all, a piece that comes like human thought, fast and from unknown places."