Theater

Landline

XOSECRET

We had the curious feeling of being alone together

Created by Adrienne Wong and Dustin Harvey, LANDLINE is a performance that takes place simultaneously in two places. Participants walk city streets, listening to an audio guide as they chat in real time with a stranger in a different city via text messaging. They are both audience and performer engaged in a game of unlikely rendezvous. Using smartphones, the audience is invited to play the dual role of voyeur and accomplice in an audio-guided, experiential tour of the city. The project largely takes place outdoors in the city using the urban landscape as backdrop for the relationship forming between two strangers.

Story

LANDLINE largely takes its inspiration from a Situationist game called a possible rendezvous, an accidental meeting in a public place. In a possible rendezvous you make a telephone call to someone who gives you a random location for a meeting with a stranger. After you arrive you wait for the person to show up. The nature of the wait alters how you perceive the location you are in, and prompts you to engage with it differently. The possible rendezvous is taken as an elaborate metaphor, suggesting that a far-reaching yet intimate connection is, on some point of comparison, the same as a theatrical encounter.  

Audience members/participants arrive at a starting point, and are given an iPod and a headset. Each iPod is synched through a countdown in real time using a video chat. Once synched, the audio is in essence playing simultaneously over both headsets. The audio track contains a set of directions urging participants to drift through the city, conjuring a place thousands of miles away. The audio guide asks them to scout locations to become the backdrop for scenes, prompting them to text stories and memories to an address they received at the outset. A participant’s own mobile phone acts as a bridge between the two cities. When it comes time for interaction, for sharing text messages, the audio track prompts listeners to engage with their phone, and accommodates for response time. Since participants are asked to scout their own locations for scenes, there is no need to develop a guide or map for them to follow. An incoming text message completes the exchange, and the two strangers engage in dialogue.

Finally the spectators are guided back to home base in their own cities where they find a table set for two.  They sit down and discover the face of the stranger via video chat. In the final movement the city disappears, leaving two individuals — at once the performer and audience for the other — in a simple moment of bold theatrical intimacy. The success of this last moment depends on the participant’s ability to overcome the distance and to humanize the other, using technology for the purpose of bringing people closer together in the here and now.  

By establishing a carefully choreographed sequence of events, the project encourages people to enjoy a stroll together through an imaginary space, while the real cities move around them without notice.

LANDLINE intends to evoke the idea of a shared experience, to get people to discover similarities and differences between each other, and to see participation as a crucial part of global citizenship. Inspired by the playful idea of drifting around urban environments, the experience shared between two people makes the city come alive through public engagement. This is particularly important for theatre today because it reflects agency and inclusion, aspects that resonate with audiences on a personal level.

Traces

LANDLINE and urban mobility

A double-sided map with partner cities placed back to back is given to each player at the beginning of the experience. The starting point for each player is at the centre, and the circle represents where one can walk in 10 minutes, approximately. The players can chose to follow it or not, to walk the streets of the other city, or not, or to ignore it altogether.

Maps of Toronto, Reykjavik, Hamilton, St. John, and Whitehorse hand drawn by Colleen MacIsaac.

ID card

XOSECRET

XOSECRET

XOSECRET (Secret Theatre, Halifax) is a project-driven initiative exploring processes that respond to and incorporate everyday technology, deliberately replacing actors with audience members, and re-imagining what constitutes live performance. We do not merely want audiences to engage. With thoughtful, playful intervention, we aim to give people the feeling that they are at the heart of the experience.

xosecret.org

Adrienne Wong

Adrienne asks audiences to make connections with the environments and people who surround them by “re-seeing” the familiar and re-imagining the everyday. Works include a series of site-specific audio plays (PodPlays), a participatory show for kids about city planning (Me On The Map) and a live, analogue Facebook (Placebook). She is a digital architect and co-editor of CdnTimes at SpiderWebShow.ca. Adrienne is based in Ottawa, Canada.

adriennewong.ca

Dustin Harvey

Dustin Harvey: Dustin’s work has grown to encompass myriad people and places come, gone and soon to be. Through the exploration of site and exploitation of media art, Dustin creates meaningful moments that offer new ways of being together while shedding fleeting light on how we've grown apart. Each production is about creating meaningful, shared experiences that are thoughtful, intimate and temporary.

dustinharvey.com

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Co-production and co-diffusion

Produced by XOSECRET (Secret Theatre, Halifax)

The project was developed with support from Neworld Theatre and Secret Theatre in collaboration with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Thanks

Sincere thanks to the festival curators and presenters who presented this work in Wales, Scotland, Iceland and across Canada. We also want to thank our families.

Credits for the piece

Creation Adrienne Wong and Dustin Harvey

Sound Engineer Shawn Bisson

Music Brian Riley

Map Design Colleen MacIsaac  littlefoible.net

Video

Millefore Clarkes

onethousandflowers.tv

Photos

Event Mel Hattie ( melhadtea.com ) and Millefore Clarkes

Portraits Adrienne Wong © Matt Reznek, Dustion Harvey © Mel Hattie

Follow the Alternate Routes

Use headphones