Staging the Library
“Word Shows” is an approach that forms the basis of certain House of ShAkE projects, like Back to Bacchae. I think of it as “staging the library” – as if the books were living presences that could come down from the shelves and interact, revealing the connections between their worlds and exposing the gulfs that must be crossed.
Literary works like plays, novels and poems, philosophical and religious texts, historical documents, verbatim speeches and recorded utterances: like a “live illuminated manuscript,” the words are brought to life, reflected on, refracted.
Medieval books were enhanced with painted scenes, decorative scrollwork, elaborate calligraphy and annotation. Similarly, the Word Shows material is “illuminated” by theatrical presentation, by words recited, printed, and projected, by dance and movement, video and imagery, sound and music, actions, costumes, puppets, objects, sets and installations, and participatory activities.