Above all, All Good Things is about holding hands. As if your life depended on it. Because it did, and it does, and it will again.
My review may differ from your mileage, given that I volunteered myself as ‘tribute’ – namely, I was the person on stage with Martin Julien the entire time.
It’s a scary proposition, but a most rewarding one. When was the last time you sat down one-on-one with another person, held hands, and focused on nothing but each other for 30 minutes? No distractions, no flashing notifications, no outside stimulus. Oh, and it’s dark in the room, too.
All Good Things is a conversation in the dark. A man reaches out to a stranger for help to piece together the fragments of a story that is difficult to believe and impossible to recount. A player and an audience member share memories and sensations, hopes and fears, accomplishments and lost opportunities. An intimate journey of revealing and concealing, of approaching and dancing around, of honesty and evasion. They talk about independence and commitment, autonomy and responsibility, and what is lost and what is found in personal trips way out to the edge.
This is the way to break through the clutter of our phone screens, through the disconnect we all feel in this digital world. I’ve never concentrated so hard in my life, put on the spot to remain engaging, open, and honest towards a complete stranger. It’s an experience which makes us realize how rarely actual conversation happens these days.
I loved Julien’s little improvisations on my answers, tweaking the story to reflect my personality as well as remaining true to his character’s central arc. His hands told the story, clutching during the tense moments, inviting during the calm. As far as innovation goes, this has been done before, but too few of us have experienced the format first-hand. Boca del Lupo’s Micro Performance Series, as usual, gets you in and out the door in 30 minutes flat.
Challenge yourself and volunteer when Managing Producer Dani Fecko sends out her email the day before. A little grovelling might help your chances of being selected. If you do find yourself lucky enough to be sitting across the table, I guarantee that All Things Good will stay under your skin for a long time coming.
All Things Good, produced by Toronto’s Vertical City, presented by Boca del Lupo, plays at The Anderson Street Space (Granville Island) until June 29. More information here.