Time Travelling in Durham
Time Travellers show was commissioned by Palace Green Library as a response to their Time Machines exhibition. Taking audiences on a journey into the fourth dimension around the exhibition and library spaces, it was curated around a theme of time, exploring fiction about time travel as a form of time travel.
We opened with The Time Machine, a brilliant musical rendition of H.G. Wells's sci fi novella with live foley and theremin, performed next to the original manuscript by Laurence Owen and Lindsay Sharman. Next, an audio installation story by Ellen Wiles, 'Beyond Even the Most Gone' explored the internal contortions of time in a yoga class with live mime by Ida Casilli.
The Barker Research Library's glass cube was transformed into a set for 'The Phoenix' by Ursula K. Le Guin: a story set in an apocalyptic urban environment where the narrator watches a librarian saving an armful of books from the library as it goes up in flames, which was masterfully performed by Jacqueline Phillips.
Up on the mezzanine, through a shelf of reeds, Debussy's Syrinx – a musical interpretation of the myth in which the nymph hides in the reeds to escape the randy god Pan, only for him to pluck her and play a lament for her on his flute – was performed 'offstage'. Audiences then created their own micro fictions and performed them, balcony to balcony.
In the History of the Book gallery, six of Lucy Corin's One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses were performed with projected illustrations by Gayna Wiles. For the finale, maestro Neil Gaiman's short story 'Other People', in which a man confronts a demon who forces him to travel back in time to relive his life's mistakes, was performed by Jamie Brown with shadow puppetry by 4M.
One audience member told us he was moved to tears by the show, another told us she cried with laughter, and several asked us where the show was going next. Time will tell...