Transient theatre

Five Kingston production companies come together to create a four-part play in the public library

The Library Chronicles are four separate plays with different plotlines which come together in one setting.
The Library Chronicles are four separate plays with different plotlines which come together in one setting.
Photo: 
The opening night of The Library Chronicles only ran two out of four individual plays.
The opening night of The Library Chronicles only ran two out of four individual plays.
Photo: 
Photo: 

It’s not every day I catch my religious studies professor behind a bookshelf at the library.

Playing the part of a neurotic book hoarder, I was surprised to see my normally matter-of-fact, stern professor in a comedic play.

Take a walk into the Kingston Public Library central branch and you might see a zombie walk past you, while two people are skulking behind you dressed in all black — just the usual suspects.

The Library Chronicles is one production that includes four different plays happening simultaneously across the various corners of the library.

The location of the show isn’t the only factor which makes the plays unique — they also bring together five of the major theatre companies in Kingston — Single Thread Theatre Company, King's Town Players, Domino Theatre, Blue Canoe Productions and Theatre Kingston.

The show is a walk-around play and asks viewers to see four different plays in a row at different corners of the Johnson St. library, all of which collide in the same setting.

I saw two of the four plays — a humourous half-hour show called Authorial Intrusion and a more somber literary performance called Remembrance.

Authorial Intrusion was a social commentary on the death of the author and the validity of their role in their chosen written work.

The script called for a mysterious author to come to the library and read from their novel, also entitled Authorial Intrusion, but the end of the play saw the audience confused and questioning who the author of the book and the play was to begin with.

Somehow, the tail end of this short play included a fight between two elderly men dressed up as a duck and a clown.

My head still hurting from thinking about that conundrum, I soon made my way to the far right corner of the library to see Remembrance, an acted out version of one of Shakespeare’s more melancholy sonnets.

The lead actor was heartbreaking in his performance as a confused playwright trying to understand the power of the written words he was reading from a Shakespearean sonnet. The other four actors looked like they had stepped out of a Men in Black movie and mimed the Shakespearean plot arc with ardent skill that I admired, but I didn’t feel much else for this mini play.

As I was sitting in my small fold-out chair, eyebrows furrowed into a deep ‘V,’ I overheard other members of the audience speaking about how moved they were by the script, so perhaps the intended purpose was just lost on me.

Despite my confusion, my smile remained throughout the night, largely due to the talent of the actors.

The four mini plays involve 20 different players and showcased various actors from the Queen’s community, high school students and elderly members of the community — a heartwarming sight to see.

I have to say that of all my trips to the library, this one was the most unexpected adventure.

The Library Chronicles runs every weekday until Oct. 20.

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