Have you found the one? What pisses you off the most? Do you like what you see? Why did you break up your previous relationship? If you are ready to answer those questions – or even better, if you are curious to see what others answer under the spotlight, this is the right piece for you.
#Instalove was fun. Refreshing, inspiring, interesting, beautiful, daring, provocative and specially, original. It was original because #Instalove is a highly participative theatre play in which “there would be no show if it wasn’t for the participants”, as Catherine Duquette, creator, writer and performer of #Instalove said.
The piece doesn’t start when you enter the theatre, it starts even before. At the foyer of the English Theatre Berlin, you find a dating computer game to familiarize with the subject and a video introducing you to the four characters of the play, which will be the backbone of the piece. Clare, a romantic dreamer, Kate, an overachieving theatre director, Cat, a ties-free wild clubber and Kris, an extremely rational game designer.
Before the show starts everyone has to download an app to interact with the play. It quickly becomes clear that entering the theatre hall means entering a game. A game with rules! You can choose to be a voyeur, or to be a participant. If you don’t want to interact, you lift a yellow card! Otherwise, you are exposed to being asked deeply personal questions in front of a full-house, to stand face to face with another participant talking about your desires or getting on your knees in the middle of stage. There is a tequila shot waiting for you to get you in the mood!
Although it might sound terrifying to you, the piece was so carefully designed, that it captivated you and without realizing, one had suddenly become participant. As Catherine Duquette said “Ruth Sergel is an amazing director. She designed the piece in such way that there is a 100% participation of the audience.” And she surely did. Surprisingly enough for me, who had the yellow card in hand, most people were willing to participate, to share their thoughts and experiences. People connected with each other, the room became some sort of community.
There were a few things that I found fascinating. One was the stage design by Ruth Sergel. The game of colors was very eye-catching and clearly defined which character Duquette was representing. The rythm and structure of the play, together with a big gamification factor, was totally new to me. The participation was so impressively high, this couldn’t possibly just come from a randomly engaged audience, but to a meticulously designed strategy. But even more impressive, was the ability of the performer, Catherine Duquette, to make the best out of each answer of the participants. Although the play depends on the participation and involvement of the audience, the way that Duquette dealt with each answer made the play flow. She was quick, witty and smart making the play very enjoyable. It was obvious to me, that the skills of Ruth Sergel and Catherine Duquette were a perfect match for a huge success.