Arts + Culture » Theatre

A person-to- person play

Secret Theatre celebrates five years of Landline, a show for two audience members in two cities simultaneously.

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Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2014 Cory, an audience participant walks city streets listening to an audio guide. - MEL HATTIE
  • Mel Hattie
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2014 Cory, an audience participant walks city streets listening to an audio guide.

Landline: Halifax to Victoria
visit halifaxfringe.tickethalifax.com for time slots and instructions
May 17-19

How much would you open up to a stranger? What if you were given a phone number, an audio track and knew nothing about this stranger except that they were listening to the same thing as you, at that very moment?

This is the premise for Landline, a performance that happens in two places at once, with two strangers connected through texts on their cell phone and a walk around their respective cities.

Created by Adrienne Wong and Dustin Harvey, Landline has been presented across the world, from Iceland and Scotland to Mashteuiatsh and Wendake. For its fifth anniversary it's back in Halifax, this time paired up with Victoria, British Columbia as a part of Uno, a festival of solo works presented by Intrepid Theatre.

"The piece tries to connect two strangers in a way that allows those two people to form a bit of a relationship," says Harvey from his attic office on Quinpool Road, where he runs Secret Theatre. "That relationship ideally deepens and unfolds in the brief amount of time they have together, then they both go their separate ways."

This encounter, Harvey explains, is at the heart of Landline. It allows the participant to become the performer, and the stranger on the other end of the phone to become the scene partner, or maybe at times the audience. There is no set trajectory, no script—only a gentle guiding audio track that prompts the ambulatory journey.

For the final rendezvous, the two participants finish their walk with a Skype call, getting to meet the now-familiar stranger they've shared the past hour with.

"All of a sudden that safe little bubble you've been in pops," Harvey says, "And that to me is extraordinary."

Maybe not expecting this meeting, maybe having overshared, confessed, or been confessed to, the participants are welcomed into another kind of intimacy. "There's something really human in that moment." a

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