Performances and theatre pieces that invite audience members to not just observe but become an active participant is something we love. The experience is more intricate and more intimate. The Archive of Missing Things created by Zuppa Theatre was already on our radar for this year’s Summerworks, a festival that is recognized as one of the most important platforms for launching new works in Canada. The Festival is currently on until August 18 at various locations across the city.
The Archive of Missing Things takes place in a public library downtown Toronto and is a highly recommended experience. It is a 90-minute exploration into what was lost and found… or never found or never returned.
Each participant is provided with a wireless headset, iPad, and notebook — you’ll want this to jot down clues and whatever else is meaningful in this archival scavenger hunt.
Your mission is to find the heart of the archives within the time allotted. There is no straight forward way, of course, but you’ll be taken on a journey of discovery through fascinating objects through time and space. The choices you make will determine the route. Sometimes it may feel like you’re looping in circles and if you’re like me, easily distracted, you will find yourself lost in the archives. That’s okay.
The library itself is a public space so it’s still business as usual for those who use it for their personal needs. But pay attention to your surroundings — Summerworks volunteers and library staff are there, yes, but others that may be part of this performance…or not. Watch for the clues as some are easy to spot and others are not.
What amazes us having experienced this performance at a media preview is the casts ability to blend into the environment weaving their storylines while manoeuvring around people who have no idea what’s happening as they are lost in the books themselves.
The environment serves as a place of solitude and a place of meeting. There are many stories to be told in this treasure trove and while I didn’t quite get to the end of the mission I know that I’ve found a gem.
The Archive of Missing Things is already sold out but waitlists for dates and times are available. There may also be a limited number of tickets that will be released at the venue for each show. This performance is free. Visit summerworks.ca for more details.