St.Catharines’ annual In The Soil Arts Festival 2016 was a weekend full of brilliant Canadian talent and a resounding passion for the arts. This year ITS co-produced a one-of-a-kind theatre experience created by DopoLavoro Teatrale (DLT) entitled That Ugly Mess That Happened in St. Catharines. The 72-hour show engages participants by sending them on an excursion through downtown St. Catharines to find a missing person, Lily. Two of our DART Critics, Sarah Bradford and Caroline Coon, documented their individual experiences of the show and then came together to discuss their reactions and perceptions. Here is what they had to say.

Caroline Coon writes:

I had such a phenomenal time experiencing this production! Though I went into it with a certain level of expectation, that it would be a “choose your own adventure” type of thing, I wasn’t disappointed that I was completely wrong. We followed a number of extremely talented actors around our city, to places I had never explored before, and got to witness the intricacy a performance like this demands. I would have loved to have more of an impact on the story, and play more of a detective role, but with a number of participants and a social media/technology component, I can certainly understand how difficult that would have been. Overall, I really enjoyed myself, and the actors and behind-the-scenes team were outstanding. I hope you enjoy our coverage!

Sarah Bradford writes:

What started as a simple mission to find a missing person turned into a thrilling adventure full of compelling stories and characters. During my experience of That Ugly Mess That happened in St. Catharines I was introduced to the mysterious voice of Mr. Eks, his soft spoken receptionist, a cryptic bookshop owner, an intuitive guide, and a helpful friend named Gabe. Meeting these characters combined with eye-opening excursions through downtown, a terrifying experience in an abandoned loft, and an unclear ending made up my 72-hour journey to find Lily.

Below is a condensed play by play of my experience while participating in this show. Upon starting my journey I was handed a yellow armband so I could be easily identified by actors—what I didn’t know at the time was that this armband designated my path for the show. As we found, the fact that my fellow DART Critic Caroline Coon received an orange arm band, her experiences differed from mine considerably.

Concluding Thoughts: 

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