The Archive of Missing Things May 15-27 Dalhousie Killam Library 6225 University Avenue, $25-$30 stages.tickethalifax.com
Dalhousie's Killam Library is the setting for Zuppa Theatre's latest creation, The Archive of Missing Things, the company's first new show in two years.
Described as an "ambient drama," it's part-game and part-live performance, where audience members are given tablets and headsets to navigate an online archive.
"There are two ways to be an audience member in this show," says director Alex McLean. "You can just immerse yourself in the online environment for a more contemplative experience. The other option is to play a game with us. You have to be a little bit of a sleuth. You have 90 minutes to get to the centre of the maze, the heart of the archive. And at the end of the 90 minutes you've either gotten there or you haven't."
"The archive has collected all of these stories and put them together into different exhibits, and there's a guide leading you along through your headset," says performer Miranda Jones.
"It's a catalogue of human loss and failure. From the mundane things like lost glasses to a lost a family member," says McLean. "A lost civilization," Jones adds.
McLean describes the content as a "rollercoaster ride of fantasy, fiction, philosophy and historical events."
For this performance, Zuppa collaborated with Toronto-based writer Kate Cayley, where the game format of the piece evolved over rehearsals and workshops. The Archive of Missing Things is unlike any of Zuppa's previous work, but its playfulness should be familiar with fans. "Zuppa has always been interested in immersive shows that play with the relationship between performer and audience," says McLean.
In order to succeed in finding the heart of the archive, audience members are provided a clue with a ticket purchase. For Coast readers, Zuppa offers an additional hint: Look for a former resident of Madagascar.