23 July 2017

Mini review: The Book of Revelations

The Book of Revelations
Black Hole Theatre
21 July 2017
to 30 July

The Book of Revelations. Alison Richards. Photo by Sarah Walker

The Book of Revelations was first seen at La Mama in 2013 and has developed into in an interactive installation, in the much larger at fortyfivedownstairs, that invites its audience to experience the confusion, fear and disarming beauty of dementia. What do you do when people in family photos have become shadows or mirrors?

Directed by Nancy Black, who has worked with a team of visual and sound artists, it's a 45-minute immersion that people can enter and leave at any time; it runs on a loop that doesn't have a beginning or end.

Wearing headphones that give an alternate voice offering options to explain what where seeing or feeling, it's easy to follow Ada (writer/performer Alison Richards) who sings and hides though moments of clarity and confusion. But make time (or stay for a second cycle) to explore the space and see the memories hidden in the kitchen cabinet or projected onto the walls.

The room is filled with Ada's memories. Some are recognisable and easy to understand, while others are made corporeal with video, sound, light and puppetry. No memories are safe as it's never clear if their delicacy comes from reality or is the beginning of a descent into something terrifying.

With projections of doilies (does everyone really fill their life with doilies as they age?), floating tea cups, and a soundscape that could be in your head or in the room, it's never clear if we're in Ada's mind with or as her or if we're parts of her distorted memories. This leaves us never able to be fully immersed in her confusion, which might be the point of the experience – being aware that you're not aware of the truth.

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