Out of Print at Canada Water Culture Space
The Canada Water Culture Space is a relatively new venue used for all kinds of events besides mainly being a library. Last night the location appropriately hosted Out of Print. Marketed as “an experimental work which is part soundscape and part performance”, it aimed to explore the relationship between authors and the characters they create. Enticing spectators with the sweet promise of crossing the invisible barriers dividing fiction and reality, the show started off on the right foot.
After being invited to gather in the library, participants watched a recording of clips showing people reading (a sort of educational documentary) and were later asked to find the book which meant the most to them, to choose their favourite passage and to mark it with a bookmark. Thus far the curiosity and the enthusiasm were still quite high. Everyone subsequently assembled again around the main staircase then somebody scattered pages torn out of books in the air and down the flight of steps.
From this point the initial curiosity and enthusiasm began to wane. This subversive action wasn’t as much out of context as it was absolutely nonsensical. Its only raison d’être was probably that of dissipating all the interest raised until then by introducing the real short-lived piece on the need to write and the need to read, which the Ivo company (a new company experimenting with form across spatial boundaries) originally wanted to investigate.
People were eventually led to a small theatre where a simple and bare set was displayed on stage. A pre-recorded voice-over started off, afterwards a few participants were solicited to read their favourite passages from their chosen books, causing some embarrassment and as the show started and the lights went out, only some curiosity remained. Although it was reproduced exactly as described on the flyer given out prior to the performance, the scene was perhaps the last thing on the spectators’ minds by now and slightly awkward. Not to mention that its representation also felt a bit goofy. The shift from the engaging part to the actual performance wasn’t very intuitive; the performance was unintentionally funny and all of this made the whole thing hard to appreciate or take seriously. It was also too short and not very well performed.
Surveys were handed out at the end. Is there something that needs improving? Let’s say either some more cohesion between the two parts is needed or one of them should be expanded and the other be left out.
Out of Print was a one-off show at Canada Water Culture Space. For further information visit the space’s website here.