Philosophia Wants to Know What Love Is.
On a cool autumn night, some folks may want to curl up indoors with some friends and have a few drinks, or they may want to take in some live theatre. The Apartment Four Players ask: why not both?
Adapted and directed by Robbie Lynn, and assistant directed by Jason McIntyre, this immersive theatre experience brings audiences into the cozy atmosphere of an apartment living room to witness a modern take on Plato’s Symposium. The show is fun, charming, and fans of philosophy will definitely want to check it out.
Do you have to be well versed in Philosophy to enjoy the show? To be honest, a little. With so many ideas being explored it can feel a bit overwhelming at times. There’s a good chance some things will go over your head, but there is something for everyone to connect to in some way or another.
Upon entering the space audiences can expect to be met by Anthony (Dustyn Forbes) welcoming you to his apartment with his partner Paul (Corenski Nowlan) directing the audience to the snacks and beverages. As time passes more actors enter as party guests, mingling with other actors and with audience members that feel brave enough to engage. Everyone is then ushered to a seat as the guest of honor arrives: Socrates (Scott Harris).
Actors and audience sit side by side as the symposium starts with Paul explaining that we’ve been assembled to give speeches on Eros, the Greek god of love. Does this mean the audience has to get up and give a speech? Thankfully no, you just get to sit back and enjoy the show, but they do extend the offer to stick around and give your thoughts about Eros after the play concludes in a built-in after party.
The play progresses with small interactions between characters as one by one each of them delivers their take on Eros, or love as a concept. The show doesn’t offer much for a concrete narrative, but the array of characters make what could be a dense collection of speeches into something more engaging.
For the most part, the immersive elements really add to the show. It feels more comfortable and laid back than a regular theatre outing. The dialogue between characters feels natural, in part due to the atmosphere, but it isn’t always consistent. The speeches don’t quite flow as organically as the dialogue shared between the characters. The actors try to make it work but only a few manage to really sell it.
The audience also doesn’t really get to be involved a whole lot. What’s fun about immersive theatre is the chance to give the audience some agency in how they interact with the story, but folks are expected to act like a typical audience throughout. The most immersive it got was when Socrates told me to move my leg, because I was in his way.
Scott Harris as Socrates is consistent throughout. This reviewer was lucky enough to sit next to him during the show and so I was able to pay close attention to his performance. His characterisation is very internal, which is smart considering the intimate venue, yet he still fills the room with his presence.
So grab a friend, grab a drink, and enjoy this fun array of characters in Philosophia try and unravel the real meaning of love.