1000 Doors

1000 Doors is difficult to describe. Like all art installations, the intention of the artist is personal and ambiguous, the meaning being up to the interpretation of the viewer.

Set up in the Garden of Unearthly Delights, 1000 Doors is a dark choose-your-own adventure in which you take your time journeying through the labyrinth of doors presented. You enter at your own risk and take your time to absorb the unique experience. A half an hour is the recommended time-frame, but you can take all the time you need.

Lining up, you’ll be greeted by a guide ready explains the simple rules: don’t break anything, don’t steal anything, and if you feel uncomfortable at any time you are free to leave.

Walking inside, you are confronted with a long hallway with loud fluorescent lights down the centre. Wallpaper, beautiful but hanging ripped from walls stained with unknown liquid. Blurry black and white photographs scattered around the floor. Sounds, impossible to pinpoint, seeping through the walls, the effect is loud and all encompassing.

Initially, you might be waiting for the classic haunted house jump-scare. This experience is so much more than that. A journey through time and genre, I was completely immersed in the four walls and varying doors presented to me. Choosing your own path through the winding corridors and oddly shaped rooms, you are one with the art around you.

A feeling of unease propels you through the myriad of time and experience. At once not here, nor there. Not in the present or the past, but somewhere different entirely, surrounded by the echoes of the voices of those who came before you.

If you can find the exit, you will experience the installation peaking in a divine crescendo of sight and sound. Returning to the bright and brilliant Fringe is a sharp jolt back to reality from a world not quite our own.

Encouraged to touch the surrounds, backtrack and interact, 1000 Doors is a truly sensory experience. I would recommend that someone wishing to attend bring along a friend to share the experience, or just have someone else open the doors for you. You never know what’s behind the next door. For anyone curious to see what fears and curiosities might await in the space beyond, 1000 Doors is a place for you.

I give 4 stars for a show that leaves you thinking: how and where did someone find this many doors?

 

4/5 stars


Words by Sarah Ingham

 

1000 Doors is on every day apart from 17/2/2020.

For more information and for tickets click here.

The Archive of Educated Hearts

The Archive of Educated Hearts is an exquisitely touching piece of work. This theatre and installation act is tucked away in one of the snug and charming spaces at the Holden Street Theatres. In this half an hour production, Casey Jay Andrews, both writer and performer, shares the true stories of four women and their battles with breast cancer; these women are all influential figures in Andrews’ life.

The intimacy, created by both the physical space and the way the stories are told, was overwhelming. The small audience of only six were seated in a crescent shape around Andrews, allowing her to offer every person eye contact and directed expression, having a remarkable effect on our emotional investment. The performance space was filled with homely treasures – pictures, trinkets, old toys, books – the floor covered with beautifully detailed rugs, and the seats were old sofa chairs that many of us associate with our grandparents’ houses. It felt like a feminine space. It was the perfect place to discuss the long lasting and wide spreading effects of cancer.

Andrews brought together a range of artefacts to tell these stories, with voice recordings from the real-life characters and pictures making for an intensely authentic experience. As the audio played, Andrews sat at a small table laying out pictures under a camera that projected her content onto a screen in front of us.

Between the personal stories and reflections, the audience learnt about the Educated Heart, a concept from Gelett Burgess’ book Have You an Educated Heart? Complimenting her personal stories with the ideals of an Educated Heart – kindness, instincts and relations to others – was a remarkable paring by Andrews, as it added a further layer of sentimentality, allowing us to understand the way we receive and process life’s challenges. Andrews herself opens up to us about her own heart, and inarticulate one.

Andrews’ writing is rich in imagery and delicate in tone, with her use of language allowing audiences to feel a deep connection to her and the experiences at the heart of this piece. In her delivery, Andrews presents a version of herself that reflects genuine kindness and vulnerability, yet great composure and comfort; in summary, her character and narrative voice is a flawless fit for this production.

The Archive of Educated Hearts brings us back to the humble art of storytelling, and the power of shared connection and human experiences, particularly those generated in times of grief. Expect the odd tear, a struck nerve or a lump in your throat. In this homely space listening to Andrews’ gentle recount, you will feel as if you have found the company of an old friend, someone you can sit with for hours and discuss life with a cup of tea in hand.

5 stars


Words by Michelle Wakim

The Archive of Educated Hearts is showing at Holden Street Theatres until the 16th.