Double Double Land Land, Allison, Sarah and I By Aurora Stewart de Peña

I had a really high fever when I saw Double Double Land Land at Gallery TPW. I almost didn't go, even though the venue is a pebble's throw from my front door. I was going to stay home and watch Dynasty, which I have been watching in such a marathon style that I had a dream about Krystle Carrington (Beautiful, extraordinary hair, and a good person deep down inside) last night.

However, I'm pleased to report that I was able to leave the very exciting world of fictional Denver's fictional early 80s oil boom long enough to drag myself the required 1/2 block to the performance space, passing a conservative looking wedding reception at neighbouring X-Space on the way in.

The gallery was packed, and cast member Nika Mistruzzi had warned me not to sit in the front unless I wanted to be hit with set pieces. I didn't. I saw my friends Allison and Sarah, and they had a seat close to them. They were both wearing rainbow striped shirts. I had on a black dress and grey shoes.

I am really glad I saw this play. Really glad. Multi- disciplinary artist Jon McCurley's latest collaborative effort is a huge success; Laura McCoy's plush, kaleidoscope set, consisting of large, primary coloured geometric shapes, is kept on the move by the crew, who run it back and forth across the stage. Nikki Woolsey's cartoon costumes, which include a giant, soft ATM and a yellow traffic arrow, and McCurley's sharp writing, reminiscent of Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth or Harry Nilsson's The Point, make this worthy of the very best fevered hallucination.

Double Double Land is a city where everything is terrible; its motto is "A Bad Place to Be, A nice Place to Leave". The citizens know it's terrible and so does the Town's mayor (played hopelessly well by Lauren Bride). A representative from the illustrious next town over Tuba City (Amy Lam, superior in a sweater onesie) comes to the town with suggestions of improvement. Double Double Land's Minister of Tourism builds an attraction based on the town's horrible reputation: a giant spring that launches you right out of town.

The cast was strong and confident. All gave grounded, shameless performances while happily yelling at/ tossing props and set pieces to an engaged and excitable audience.

McCurley does nothing to hide the artifice that is necessary in making a play. The costumes are obviously costumes, and not meant to represent a character's natural attire. This is exemplified by Nika Mistruzzi's giant fabric nose (Mistruzzi plays the role of Mrs. Nose), which occasionally falls off as she yells "My nose is so big! My nose is so big!" which, as is true as much of the play, would have seemed at home in McCurley's inky series of comics.

The soundscape, by musician Matt Smith (Nifty, Awesome) includes an occasional infant's squall or other uninvited sound. Rather than lulling me into the world of the play, it drew me out, and made me look for the cat I heard or the glass that broke. It was a bit uncomfortable, and it worked perfectly.

As Lauren Bride, the Mayor of Double Double Land, delivers her final impassioned monologue decreeing all kinds of amazing new things for Double Double Land, I heard a the sound of glass shattering (not in the soundscape), shouts and whoops coming from the front of the gallery. Franco from the Theatre Centre, who had warned us to expect noise from next door as there was a reception, got up to see what was wrong. The door guy got up and followed.

"As if they didn't lock the door, that's so stupid…" I thought, watching Bride try to retain her concentration through the last bit of her speech. Suddenly I was looking at the entire wedding party from next door. On the stage. Bride, groom, mom, dad and several well wishers throwing confetti and drinking champagne, and they were looking at me, and we, the entire audience, were looking at them in stunned silence. Bride (Lauren), shocked, turned to stare. Dave Clarke, still in costume came from backstage, looking angry and confrontational, Glen Macaulay, also still in costume, came from backstage looking alarmed.

I tapped Allison on the shoulder. "Is this really happening?"

"I think so." She said.

The wedding party, who must have felt as though they were in a fish tank, seemed surprised that nobody in the audience wanted to share in their celebration of love. They were unceremoniously usherered out by the Door Guy. The cast, looking a bit defeated, shuffled off. Set Designer Laura McCoy and Crew member Wes Allen came out with large brooms and swept away the broken glass, confetti and other debris left by the invading wedding party. The show was over.

"What just happened?" Allison asked me.

"I'm not really sure." I said.

"I think it was a set up." Said Sarah.

"Nooooooooo!" I said.

"Seriously?" Asked Allison.

"Yeah, I mean, who has their wedding a X-Space on a Tuesday night in January?"

That hadn't even occurred to me.

"Yeah, look," Sarah continued. "There they are." And she pointed to the wedding party, laughing and talking with Jon and the rest of the cast. It was part of the show. I couldn't believe that guy! The most believable part of the whole show had been staged.

"I've gotta go," I said, remembering that I was still sick. "I'm going to watch Dynasty."

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