I am a passionate fan of the stoner musical comedy adventure about friendship that is Life in a Box. My first encounter was back in 2018, when I reviewed the Toronto Fringe Festival premiere for Mooney on Theatre. (You can read that review here.) And you should also check out my preview article for the Bad Hats Theatre presentation from the fall of 2019; that will provide a sense of the development process and the unique charms of this deliriously fast-paced and energetic show.
To bring some joy into our isolated lives, creators Landon Doak and Matthew Finlan have adapted their episodic adventure for a new medium—Instagram Live. With its faux TV screen frame and commercial break segments, the stage show was designed to mimic the television format, so this style of presentation suits that aesthetic.
The story itself—which opens on our plucky heroes trapped in a Toronto basement apartment during a global catastrophe—feels particularly on point. And the guileless optimism of this zany though relatable time travel tale is a much needed balm for our fraught psyches.
With some clever perspective tricks and a mobile app that adjusts their coloured lighting, this low-tech performance sports some whimsical visuals. It has the same sense of playful invention as the stage show, though considerably less acrobatic. In keeping with the buoyant positivity of the story, Doak and Finlan plan to end each episode with a good news story from somewhere in the world.
Of the many streamed events that have popped up, this one holds a special place in my heart. This duo always always puts a smile on my face, a lump in my throat, and the virtuosity of Doak and Finlan’s execution is nothing short of mesmeric. A lot of work has gone into Life in a Box over the past few years and the effort has paid off.
Streaming live at 4:20pm (hehe) every Friday during this pandemic isolation, the performance will also be viewable for 24 hours afterwards. Stay tuned-into Landon Doak’s Instagram Story for the next episode.