Watch Out for Bikes
July 11, 2011
As part of the Summer Live celebrations at Brockton Oval on the weekend of July 8,9 & 10, Neworld Theatre presented another PodPlay – this one a composition by Adrienne Wong. I’d previously done the PodPlay at last year’s Powell Street Festival written by Tetsuro Shigematsu, and took in PodPlays – The Quartet at the 2011 PuSh Festival.
I’m drawn to PodPlays as a former broadcaster who loved radio plays (one of my most memorable class assignments was to create a scene with sound-effects instead of dialogue). What PodPlays adds is the intimacy of listening by iPod, and the participant’s relationship with place/geography.
Summer Live was a challenging place to do a PodPlay – until I reached the further points on this walk it was a strain to hear Adrienne over the Hannah Georgas set on the mainstage. Also, the geography of the park wasn’t as specific as walking city streets, so I slid off-track a couple of times. My own knowledge of the area at times worked in my favour and at other times led me to unintended places.
I felt Watch Out for Bikes had the thinnest through-story of the six I have participated in. While verbally guiding you, Adrienne is interrupted a number of times to take cell phone calls of something exciting about to happen in her life. The route you take led you through what at one time were native shell middens in what is now Stanley Park and along many parts of Vancouver’s waterfront; identified by name the shipping terminals opposite the park on the north shore; and as you re-entered the park took you to the totem poles and to the surrounding trees. The information was interesting but not compelling and connecting in the same way to the listener as some of the other PodPlays with more empathetic or emotional undercurrent as with Look Up or G…Cordova from the Quartet.