When the cab driver dropped me off at 581 Cordova he thought I was making up the fact that there was a theatre inside. The PAL (Performing Arts Lodge), located in Coal Harbour is, “a B.C. not-for-profit charitable society, created to provide quality affordable housing and support for seniors in the performing arts and allied professions.”
I was there to see, The 21st Floor. I was soon whisked up to the 8th floor, handed a glass of wine, and given the chance to check out the space that was more than fitting for this performance.
The theatre portion has tall windows, looking West, where you can see cars file onto the Stanley Park causeway, and also the solariums, patios and living rooms of neighbours in nearby glass towers.
The 21st Floor features characters across the entire floor of an apartment in Coal Harbour (hence the added eeriness, since that’s kind of where we were). All of the personalities are compartmentalized, solitary, yet they mix, mingle and are intertwined – however obvious (to them) or not.
Eleven characters make up this performance where you can catch yourself looking in apartment 2104, spotting something shift in 2107, then gazing back over to 2109; it was really a living space, full of movement. It’s also dark. Aside from being rated PG-13 (for language, nudity) it’s grey, rainy, and catches several humans at their lowest of lows – even though they all have such lovely living space there on the 21st floor.
One of the characters, Craig, has a blog called Soggy City (which has been live for a while now) and throughout the performance he makes video entries. His sarcastic, cynical, yet compassionate spirit was actually inspired by a real Vancouver blogger… (check out the show to see if you can guess who).
The use of space, the setting, dialogue and the sound of raindrops falling even though no water streaked the windowed backdrop last night, all made this dark performance shine.
The 21st Floor runs until November 22nd and all shows start at 8:00pm. There is a $12 industry rate performance Sunday Nov. 16 with post-show party and also a pay what you can performance Tuesday Nov. 18.