Assessment: C-O-N-T-A-C-T Ottawa fuses stay theatre and engineering for disappointing consequence

Actors Lucy Sanci and Chris James in C-O-N-T-A-C-T Ottawa’s dwell theatre show [Photo provided]

C-O-N-T-A-C-T Ottawa is a reside theatre output that is underwhelming, overrated and gimmicky at best. 

Introduced by the Glebe Organization Enhancement Area (BIA), the display is in Ottawa from July 22 to Sept. 5. Although its outdoor mother nature will make it a fitting generation for Ottawans conscious of COVID-19 precautions, the mixing of engineering with live actors for an immersive knowledge is a benevolent but disappointing preference.    

Just after downloading an app onto their mobile phones and getting into a numerical code presented by the show’s usher/stand-by tech help, audience associates join to the effectiveness by the application and follow the stay theatre output as it moves all over Lansdowne Park.

Listening by means of their earbuds, viewers customers can listen to the show’s dialogue, voiced by Aoife Kennan and Richard Heap, as properly as the musical soundtrack by Cyril Barbessol that accompanies the pre-recorded dialogue.

The to start with character to appear is Sarah, played by Lucy Sanci. Sarah is battling with her father’s loss of life and an overpowering sense of isolation that sales opportunities her to feelings of anxiousness and distrust in the entire world. Her inner thoughts parallel people of quite a few men and women considering the fact that COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions started in March 2020. 

Sarah then meets Rafael, played by Chris James. Rafael is Sarah’s guardian angel from one more entire world who seems to enable Sarah cope with her soreness and stress. 

Actors Lucy Sanci and Chris James in C-O-N-T-A-C-T Ottawa’s live theatre show [Photo provided]

In theory, listening to the production’s audio by means of one’s earbuds is a way for friends to be immersed in its psychological 3D soundscape. On the other hand, in follow, the strategy falls flat. 

The use of technological know-how detracts from the reside theatre and immersion into Sarah’s unfolding story. Discouraging tech problems, this kind of as the audio not downloading or disconnecting throughout the general performance, final result in friends lacking out on the start off of the demonstrate and other significant occasions through. 

With unreliable audio, trying to keep up with the story through the actor’s entire body language will become even more significant. However, to get a superior perspective of the general performance, audience users have to strain to see the actors whose facial expressions are often obstructed since they have turned their backs to the viewers. 

The audience should also be mindful of not acquiring in the way of the actors, which pulls their attention away from Sarah’s unfolding storyline. At initial, next the actors all-around as they execute is interesting and piques the curiosity of audience members, but just after a while, this structure becomes annoying and troublesome. 

The immersive element of the display is also occasionally damaged when individuals who are not viewers members or actors stroll and bike by means of where by Sanci and James are trying to act. 

Even if you are ready to get an uninterrupted perspective, the performing by Sanci and James is underwhelming. Their emotions do not match the intensity of people remaining communicated by Kennan and Heap around the audio. Friends are still left only partly satiated by Sanci and James’ exaggerated and gimmicky system movements that considerably make up for their typically blank facial expressions. 

Lastly, the site exactly where the demonstrate is held could be much better used. Only the outside space bordering the Aberdeen Pavilion is applied which leaves audience users hoping for a tour of the park’s places to eat, outlets, stadium, and athletics and recreation park sorely dissatisfied.

Lights and track record landscapes are crucial areas of any theatre creation. By not using far more of the park’s all-natural and industrial areas, the show misses out on variations in placing that could provide cues for scene changes and support set the temper. 

All round, C-O-N-T-A-C-T Ottawa is a bewildering theatre encounter that lacks a sense of “theatre magic” due to the malfunctioning technological know-how of the application. The only factor of the expertise that pulls by way of on its immersive topic is Barbessol’s history tunes. Without this to greatly enhance the soundtrack, it feels far more like a radio or podcast drama with uninspiring actual physical actors and a location that was picked as a 50 percent-hearted afterthought. 

C-O-N-T-A-C-T was conceived by Gabrielle Jourdain, at first directed by Samuel Sené and created by French playwright Eric Chantelauze. It was then adapted into an English edition by Quentin Bruno and directed in Ottawa by Charles Roy.

To discover extra about the show and obtain tickets, take a look at its web site.

Featured image presented by C-O-N-T-A-C-T Ottawa.