Review: Library of Babel
The Library of Babel, by kleine feinheiten, is an experimental and immersive experience, conceived by Emma White and Claudia Osborn (who was also the director). The show was a pastiche of the ridiculous and the (semi) realistic, creating a very unique experience for each audience member.
Groups were brought in at half-hour intervals and allowed to roam the world that White and Osborn had created. The performance space was divided into various segments and there were performances within each segment as well as a collection of roving performers. Each segment appeared to be conceptually rigorous but did not always appear cohesive as a whole performance. However, this may have been the whole point.
Each performance was boldly designed with colour to recreate the experience of entering another world. These worlds included an aluminium rave cave, a spider's web and a lounge room.
The characters that we met in each world were distinctive from each other but not rooted in much reality. I encountered a gold-clad creature with impossibly long arms and feet and a scientist who provided tasks and gave audience members a certificate of achievement upon completion. (I, unfortunately, did not achieve anything).
The worlds were linked by a series of roving performers. Some were dressed in grotesque costumes but some were cheeky, adding an element of comedy to the installation.
Overall, there was merit in each piece that I experienced in the show. There was obvious conceptual depth and evidence of rehearsal (even if it was rehearsed to look messy). I can understand how an audience member may be resistant to the experience as there wasn’t a strong or obvious attempt to link all of the artworks. However it was visually engaging, unique and certainly wasn’t boring.
Concept: Claudia Osborne and Emma White Directed by Claudia Osborne Set & costume design: Emma White Production manager: Gabby Chantiri Sound design: Angus Mills Featuring the work of: Evan Confos, Isabella Debbage, Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, Vincent Grotte, Emily Haydon, Sally Lewis, Amanda Lim, Sean Maroney, Beth McMullen, Tom Mesker, Sasha Mishkin, Isabella Tannock, Rosie Thomas, Gemma Scoble and Eliza Scott.