The promo material for Pandemic Theatre’s Murder on Ossington says “Come experience a site specific performance that takes you deep into a realm only imagined until now: Your own home. Inspired loosely by the Ossington Avenue Murder.” The audience was limited to 10 people per night and the location is secret; the address to meet at was emailed to us the day before the performance.
This all sounded very intriguing, and rather like a murder mystery. This suspicion was further encouraged when we showed up and were each given an envelope that we were told not to open. The envelopes were labelled with numbers that divided us up into groups. But it isn’t really a murder mystery. When you do eventually open the envelope, you don’t find out who the killer is. You open the envelope at the end of the show and I found the contents very anticlimactic.
“Anticlimactic” is the word I would use to describe the show in general. It is a series of disparate scenes, and I expected them to somehow end up being connected, or for the finale to draw comparisons or parallels between them. But it didn’t. The end was just a short meta-theatrical moment and then we were told we could open our envelopes and we were left alone. When we had waited long enough that it was clear no actors were coming back and that the show was in fact over, I couldn’t help but wonder what the point of each scene was, as well as the point of the overall exercise.
Each scene was well-done enough that it could succeed as part of a piece that had more of a through-line. There was a sort-of through-line in that each scene had a connection with violence. But they were so very disparate: a mildly jealous woman -by no means a bunny boiler, she was a sympathetic character- has a bad dream that intimates violence; a racist goes on a rant; there’s a pro-domme with a client, which is a dubious connection with “violence”, for those of us with a kink-friendly perspective; and there’s sexual abuse, so trigger warning for anyone considering attending. I’m just not sure what the juxtaposition of these scenes was supposed to convey.
Of course, it’s quite possible that it simply went over my head. I also particularly hate to be crowded up against strangers, and there was a lot of that, so perhaps it put me in an ungenerous mood. It is certainly a very interesting experiment and a creative approach to an unconventional form of theatre.
– Murder on Ossington is playing at a secret location on October 14th – 16th, 21st – 23rd and 28th – 30th (all Fridays through Sundays) at 8:00 p.m
– Tickets are limited, as there are only 10 audience members per show.
– Tickets are Pay What You Can (Suggested $10), available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org