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Choose your own (theatre) adventure

On Friday night I went to see Hive 3: a show in a warehouse space on the BCIT campus with twelve theatre companies performing simultaneously. If you go, you better be ready to interact, because like it or not, you’re going to be part of the ‘shows.’

Someone hands you an info guide at the door that lists the twelve performances with a brief description and a bunch of symbols beside each. At the bottom is a legend that explains what the symbols mean: confined spaces, darkness, difficult exit, flashing lights, loud noise, mild group participation, physical interaction, social interaction, wheelchair assistance necessary.


I don’t recommend the bar area if you’re looking to hide, that’s where you’ll most likely get approached, like my friend Lisa did, by a bearded man wearing a set of wireless headphones. Throughout their stilted conversation it became obvious that someone somewhere was telling him what to say. He told a joke that went like this:

“Knock, Knock.”

“Who’s there?”


“Panther who?”

“Panther on or off, I’m going swimming.”

While the joke wasn’t very funny, his reaction to having to tell it was. Eventually, he linked arms with her and lead her away. I have no idea what happened to her next, but I wasn’t on my own for long. A woman dressed as a doctor who had been lurking nearby came over and said, “I’m afraid you’ve been exposed to a virus and need to come with me to the infirmary”. This interactive 'show' took place outside in a tented area with space heaters, elevator music was playing on a small stereo by the door and the receptionist, a man in a white coat wearing a face mask, told me to use the hand sanitizer and to take a seat where six other people sat waiting. Someone giggled. A notice board in front of us read: Polite Reminder: Quarantine Zone. Please refrain from: Smoking, Eating, Drinking, Loud talking, Spitting on the floor, Suggestive dancing, Annoying the receptionist.

Inside, we lay down on cots and were wrapped in blankets. The nurses put lavender-scented eye masks over our eyes and headphones on our ears and a story began, a story in which we all died a slow, sad and beautiful death. At times, I smelled evergreen and lilac – they must have been using aromatherapy – and at one point, the mask was removed and the nurses held mirrors to our faces and gradually pulled them away to simulate what you might see as you leave your body.

Back in the building, I watched a burlesque strip tease, reverse bidding in which an audience member got his head shaved; I got interviewed, saw a man on a treadmill running through Iraq, listened in on a phone conversation about a woman passing out in front of the Dalai Lama and ‘accidentally’ smelling his armpit, went to a birthday party, and rode a bike during a puppet show.

Not bad for one evening – and apparently I only saw half the shows.



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