Magazine article American Theatre

How Sacred Is Your Stuff?

Magazine article American Theatre

How Sacred Is Your Stuff?

Article excerpt

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED THAT A smartphone, when placed on a table during a meal, takes on a kind of special, almost holy, prominence?

Do you use your iPhone more than your brain?

Will people still be taking selfies 200 years from now?

Relics, showing at the Guthrie Theater's Dowling Studio Nov. 13-23, prompts these questions and more, in manners both rhetorical and real. Set in 2314, after an apocalyptic event in 2014 that leaves behind only the objects on display, Relics invites its audience to be VIP guests at a gala opening of the new wing of an American museum. The result is an immersive installation and a promenading theatrical event that blends the feelings one might experience at an art opening, a museum exhibit and a haunted house.

"Nick Golfis conceived the idea of a visual art show in the future--pieces of artifacts from the present day have been found, and the missing portions are being reinvented and rebuilt," says Chantal Pavageaux, who, along with Golfis and Sarah Agnew, is a co-creator of Relics. "We started riffing on turning the idea for an art show into a theatrical event--an opening of a new wing in a museum for these found artifacts and their misinterpretations, surrounded by all the trappings of a gala event."

Audiences begin the Relics journey by going up nine floors in an elevator to the Dowing Studio, which has been entirely transformed. A performance unfolds before a ribbon-cutting ceremony, after which audiences roam around taking in interactive displays, dioramas and artifacts. …

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