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Review: Tiny packs a big punch


The cast of tiny present a collection of small scenes packed with large themes. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Submitted photo
  • The cast of tiny present a collection of small scenes packed with large themes.
What if there have always been superheroes living among us? This is the proposal of Eastern Front Theatre and Zuppa Theatre’s latest show, Tiny.

In an alternate, counterfactual reality, superheroes are very much real and have been ostracized and condemned throughout history. Tiny is set up as a museum exhibit, dedicated to telling the story of these everyday people with special powers—featuring displays of various objects, costumes, household items and lots and lots of text to read.

The show takes place in the old NSLC in Scotia Square, where the audience members wear headsets and are invited to explore the space freely. There are many things to look at, some videos to watch, a voiceover speaking in sleepy dulcet tones and delicate, ambient music to transport you to another world.

But what is this world?

A narrator/superhero Ben Stone pops up occasionally to say something pithy, then directs your attention towards a short scene taking place in the room. This happens four times. It’s not evident what we are supposed to be paying attention to in these scenes; they relate loosely to one another, but not clearly to the world of the exhibit.

There is a quiet mood of secrecy, talk about people who are special, a motif of big things contained inside tiny things, but the meaning of the scenes, like the exhibit, is otherwise enigmatic—despite being beautifully written and performed.

Audiences familiar with Zuppa will not be surprised to see the company pushing boundaries of theatrical conventions. Tiny is more exhibit than play, more seed than flower and maybe more question than answer. It is executed with precision and care—but the audience is left adrift in a sea of either too many, or too few, ideas.

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