M/Hotel reaffirms Battery Opera's fearlessness

Hotel-room set 'show' strange and riveting

M/HOTEL

At Holiday Inn, 1110 Howe Street, Tuesday-Saturday until December 10

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www.ticketstonight.ca or at the door

Dont worry. What strangers often do in hotel rooms is not what youll be doingor watchingin Room 319 at the Holiday Inn downtown. Once in that room, however, you cant run and you cant hide. I suppose you could, but you wont.

M/HOTEL, battery operas latest site-specific work and written by the companys co-founder David McIntosh, is a compelling piece that incorporates music, dance and storytellingbut each of those features separate and in sequence: first dance, then story, then music. There are 12 loosely linked, 45-minute episodes. Each night, beginning at 6 p.m. and continuing until 10 p.m., five of the vignettes, in order, are performed. The performers include Paul Ternes, Alana Gerecke, Jay Hirabayashi, Alison Denham, Aryo Khakpour and Cai Glover with original music by Aleister Murphy.

After getting the room key from host McIntosh in the Lobby Bar, you proceed with the other guests (anywhere from one to five) up to Room 319 and let yourself in. Absolutely ordinary: big bed, TV, side tables, lamps, bland art, surgically lit bathroom. Eventually someone arrives and the show begins.

Its strange, but also strangely riveting. Slightly reminiscent of Wallace Shawns The Fever, the two stories I heard involved a privileged, white Western traveller in Third World situations. Strange, too, is that when the performers exit the room, the guests are left alone for five or 10 minutes before the phone rings and you are asked to vacate the room. In that space of time, the groups reaction to the experience is almost as interesting as the performance itself: discomfort, amusement and reflectionin equal measure.

M/HOTEL reaffirms battery operas reputation for fearless iconoclasm with a socio-political twist.

joled@telus.net

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