Birmingham Central Library brings books to life with live recitals
Friday 23 March 2012
On entering a library you expect to see books – but do you expect them to be alive? Living, breathing books, side-by-side with the paper variety, waiting to be read?
Just such flesh-and-blood literary works will be found at the Birmingham Central Library next month in the UK premiere of Time Has Fallen Asleep in the Afternoon Sunshine – an innovative performance work conceived and directed by former ballerina Mette Edvardsen. And the "Living Books" themselves are in fact a group of seven performers (five of whom are non-professionals recruited from the local community), each of whom have committed a book to memory. Edvardsen believes that the identification forged between performer and book during the process of memorisation is so fundamental that that the performer "becomes" the book. "Local Living Book" Philip Holyman agrees. He is currently 50 minutes into learning J G Ballard's Crash and says that the book "needs to be something which is with you all the time".
Visitors to the library who choose a Living Book will – in the parlance of the performance work – "read" a one-on-one half-hour recitation. The concept has been inspired by Ray Bradbury's classic novel, Fahrenheit 451 (from which the enigmatic title of the project is a quotation), about a dystopian future world in which books are outlawed and memorised in an attempt to preserve them.
And how do you direct a book? As little as possible, according to Edvardsen, who wants to keep the experience as close as possible to that of reading by oneself.
'Time Has Fallen Asleep in the Afternoon Sunshine' at the Birmingham Central Library (0121 236 4455), 30 March to 7 April (www.birmingham-rep.co.uk)
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
- 4 Tyler, The Creator says having new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
- 5 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
Lauren Bacall's last ever performance on Family Guy airs in UK tonight
Fifty Shades of Grey movie: New picture of Anastasia Steele unveiled
X Factor 2014 review: Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole clashed over Rouge Kiss
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Doctor Who, Listen, review: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly