“Landline: St John’s to Calgary” is a unique, hour-long experience in which you’re invited to walk our city streets, listening to a recorded guide. Meanwhile, 4348 km away in Calgary, you’re paired with a fellow participant, listening to the same audio track.
You and your anonymous Cowtown buddy can converse with each other in real time via text message. “Landline is a shared experience between you and a stranger thousands of kilometres away,” says co-creator Dustin Harvey (Secret Theatre, Halifax NS) of his collaboration with Adrienne Wong (Neworld Theatre, Vancouver BC). It is being presented locally by RCA Theater Company. Its first trial run was between Vanvouver and Halifax in 2013.
Wong says past participants report forging “cosmic connections” with their partner on the other side of the country. Through the audio guide, team members are prompted to share memories and secrets with each other. Your conversation with this person is entirely private, and you may use a fake, anonymous name if you wish. “We recognize that some people have greater comforts with intimacy than others,” she’s said. “How far you go is up to you.”
In part, the experience is about creating a unique social space, where people with different experiences and perspectives can co-exist. Wong says some people have called it “better than therapy.”
“At moments during the walk, you are prompted by the voice on the track to contact to the other person using your cell phone … you share stories and memories. You are honest or you lie. How much you text is up to you … but in doing so, you create something unique and special between the two of you that is unrepeatable and only lasts an hour.”
Adding to the fun of it all is the fact that pairs are also picked at random, so you’ll likely be interacting with someone not only different in personality and heritage, but age and perspective.
“Our brains,” Wong says, “are designed to make meaning and to see patterns. So, sometimes, when you give yourself over to the flow of the experience, [you will] experience strange coincidences.”
Local sessions of Landline will take place from January 24th-28th, at 4:30 pm daily. The experience will last about 50 minutes; have your battery charged and dress accordingly. Space is limited, so reserve your space via the LSPU Hall. $15 admission.