Come Alone in the Georgia Straight

Come Alone takes theatre-goers on an outdoor exploration of space and self

by Holly McKenzie-Sutter on August 8th, 2017 at 5:12 PM The Georgia Straight

Playwright Julia Siedlanowska in rehearsal for Come Alone, a site-specific immersive theatre piece running in the Vines Art Festival this week. 

Dinner and a show are a classic itinerary for a night out, so why not combine the two in an immersive theatre experience?

Come Alone, an original theatrical piece by Julia Siedlanowska and Ulla Laidlaw, invites its guests to sit down and share a plant-based meal together—but first, they’re sent on a guided audio exploration of the site. Presented as part of the Vines Art Festival, Come Alone will run on Wednesday (August 9) in Hadden Park, and Sunday (August 13) in Stanley Park.

Audience members sign up before the show, and receive an MP3 file with original narration that will guide them on their quest to explore the landscape and reconvene with the larger group. As the night continues, participants will meet the narrator—and each other—when they come together for a discussion about environmental conservation and living in Vancouver that, aside from the pre-recorded elements, entirely depends on who shows up at the table that day.

“People have to come with their own experiences,” Siedlanowska tells the Straight. “There’s this idea of Vancouver as a lonely city. We want people to come alone and hopefully leave with a community.”

The piece is transformed by the place it’s set, as well as the people who participate in it. The Hadden Park and Stanley Park scripts will diverge based on their unique scenic offerings. In fact, when Siedlanowska and Laidlaw first submitted Come Alone for Vines, they wanted it to take place on a barge, but the show was adjusted according to the assigned venues.

The narrator is will be anonymous for the first part of the performance, but Siedlanowska mentions that the script was inspired by the speeches of great historical orators like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. The two playwrights were also heavily influenced by the Leap Manifesto, a collaborative 2015 document that calls for Canada to explore sustainable energy alternatives.

There are historical influences, but Siedlanowska emphasizes that this is a piece about the experience of living in Vancouver now. She and Laidlaw will be on-site, but only to help gently guide the experience—the shape of the piece is really up to those who attend. 

More information on Come Alone and Vines Art Festival can be found here