Stay with me; Remote Rochester might take a minute to explain. The -- what should we call it? -- roving, interactive, theatrical performance is the fifth production in the "Remote X" series created by Berlin-based team Rimini Protokoll. The team has curated these events in Berlin, Milan, Paris, and New York, each time creating a brand-new, site-specific performance.
The goal is to see the city in a new light. But this -- pick one: performance, event, journey -- goes further. Remote Rochester will make you think about how you interact with your literal surroundings; why we should observe strangers; and what it means to be part of a group. The broad synopsis of Remote Rochester might make you think you'll see new parts of the city, but there really isn't much in the way of new information. Rather, Remote Rochester wants to take you on a playful path with a semi-narrative.
Wearing headphones and a transmitter, you are guided along a path around parts of the city by the smooth, synthetic voice of "Heather." Participants are part of a 50-person "horde" that is prompted to interact with one another and become somewhat familiar -- it was actually entertaining to silently learn the personalities of certain "horde" members simply through their body language: who was a leader; who wanted to be outgoing; who liked to stay toward the back and simply observe.
Along the path, "Heather" will prompt the group to perform certain tasks, such as picking a gravestone to meditate at; dance and groove; or simply watch traffic drive by. A lot of the tasks are meant to prompt the participant to think about how they, an individual, fit into the larger scheme of things, and about the balance between nature and artificiality.
I don't want to spoil anything -- the surprises of the trip are well-timed and a lot of fun -- but there is somewhat of a loose pseudo-plot that happens throughout ... and you are one of the actors. Ever wish you could have your own soundtrack to the day? Using atmospheric music, sound effects, and urban noises, Remote Rochester really captures an all-encompassing cinematic quality.
It must have taken extraordinary planning to make Remote Rochester: public transportation is incorporated; small details are capitalized on; and the prompts make you think outside of the box.
Really, Remote Rochester is the definition of "fringe."
Remote Rochester starts at the Speigelgarden, where a bus will take you and your "horde" to Mt. Hope Cemetery to begin the performance. Multiple performances will take place each day of the Fringe. For times, visit rochesterfringe.com. $28. Appropriate for ages 13 and up.