Passenger is a production by Jessica Wilson which was born out of works produced for the now (sadly) grandfathered Big West Festival. When I saw the concept — a bus ride through Docklands, set to a Western, where you are unwitting eaves droppers — I was immediately drawn to the different nature of the experience. And Passenger is indeed different.
The piece takes place on a bus, where we, the audience, are privy to a conversation between two fellow passengers as the world passes us by. As participants, we boarded at the Footscray Arts Centre (side note: this place is awesome!) and set off on our journey to and through the Docklands.
We were immediately drawn in on the conversation. Two strangers on a bus. The two protagonists talked about life. The mundane, their issues, with healthy levels of cynicism.
As we weaved our way through the nooks and crannies of Docklands, I loved not knowing if the things happening outside our windows were planned or staged. Was that banker walking past in a suit meant to be there? The cyclist? Our warped sense of interpretation was half the fun. One thing was for sure — the cowboy that followed us from place to place was definitely a part of this Melburnian Western.
The sparseness and desolation in certain parts was striking. Why hadn’t I ever noticed this before? The outside world is enhanced with our fly-on-the-wall voyeurism. Both my plus one and I felt that Passenger played with our interaction of the real world in ways that neither of us expected.
Unfortunately Passenger had a limited showing. However if you get the opportunity to do something like this in the future, I would wholeheartedly recommend it.
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, Rukmal lives and breathes events.