Saturday, March 28, 2009


So, I went along to see a production by a friend of mine in a place they use to call the petri dish of downtown theater. It was an audience participation thing, "staged" as a seminar, and the theme was political theater. Each audience member had been given a gift bag - the kind handed out after gala evenings at the theatre - sardonically filled with a photocopy of a theater scene, a ball that lit up when bounced, and a toy hand grenade.

Halfway through the second half, the discussion was getting heated as the friend I had brought embarked on a lengthy explanation of why she thought the entire premise of the production was flawed (albeit by way of friendly suggestion). One of the actresses was taking it personally, and my friend was trying to reassure her that it wasn't about her acting, but the approach. I lost my cool, and urged the actress to let my friend finish her point. Suddenly I felt a whoosh of air on my cheek and something smacked into the wall directly behind me. A cast member had thrown a toy grenade at our heads, with too much velocity for it to be considered playful. I thought I heard a few ripples of nervous laughter, and felt the atmosphere crackle with just that bit more electricity. For the rest of the performance, I struggled to pay attention - my nerves were jangling too much from the scent of violence.

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