Luminato Festival·Video

Imagine going to the theatre in an industrial wasteland — and you're the only audience member

Director Daniele Bartolini of DopoLavoroTeatrale has little time for immersive theatre — he'd rather go much further and take the theatre into the streets.
Off Limits Zone is a performance using Toronto's waterfront. And DopoLavoroTeatrale is using Off Limits Zone as an opportunity to push theatre past its boundaries. 4:51

SPOILER ALERT: If you happen to be one of the remaining 20 or so people booked to see Off Limits Zone this weekend at Luminato, do not watch the accompanying video until after you've gone. We don't want to spoil any surprises.

Daniele Bartolini is the director of DopoLavoroTeatrale, a company where he's almost continuously creating new performances alongside DLT's core members: Rory de Brouwer, Nicole Dufoe, Danya Buonastella and Joslyn Rogers. Together, the company is trying to find the place that lies beyond immersive theatre — the relatively new iteration of theatre in which audience members play a role in the story. Bartolini (reluctantly) calls DLT's chosen mode "audience-specific theatre," in which not only does the audience member become the protagonist, but the site plays a pivotal role.

It's perhaps for this reason that in DLT's Off Limits Zone, the audience member is constantly on the move — interacting with actors, negotiating trails and scrambling up embankments. It's all in service of creating intimacy between the audience and the performers, and it requires vulnerability and flexibility on both parts. In a typical DLT show, the audience might be alternately delighted or a little creeped out, frenetically dancing in a garden or hiding out with a stranger under a bridge. The narrative structure here is loose, and every performance is a little bit different, depending on the action and reactions of the audience member.

In this video, Bartolini takes you behind the scenes of Off Limits Zone and offers a glimpse of the challenges that face a director trying to create an ambitious form of theatre.

(DopoLavoroTeatrale)

Performers from Off Limits Zone are Hasmig Tashdjian, Danya Buonastella, Rory de Brouwer, Raylene Turner, Daniel Carter, Joslyn Rogers, Neha Poduval, Maggie Hunter, Adam Bromley, Jordan Campbell, Maddie Bautista, Sohee Maeng, Gino Buenaventura, and Oriana Mambie.

Off Limits Zone at Luminato Festival. To June 26. Hearn Generating Station, Toronto. luminatofestival.com