Sylvia’s Quest invites you take to the streets of Newbridge on headphones, and to follow a Bulgarian archaeologist on a thrilling quest through her labyrinth.
It is the story of Sylvia Sylvana, a young Bulgarian archaeologist who works as a cleaner in Ireland, who must find her way home tonight. Sylvia shares her multiple worlds with you, her new friends, as she guides you through her labyrinth of secret streets and time portals - inviting you to dance with her ghosts, to taste black bread and sherbets, and to time travel back to Ancient Thrace tonight.
Sylvia’s Quest uses cutting edge wireless radio technology,which empowers you to listen on your headphones to the sounds, voices and worlds which only Sylvia can usually see and hear, as you follow Sylvia through streets of her labyrinth. This exciting technology has never been used in Irish theatre before and it is why Sylvia’s Quest is premiering at the Dublin European City of Science Festival & then coming to Newbridge.
Sylvia's Quest is a site specific street theatre piece, commencing at Riverbank Arts Centre. Sat - Sun 3pm // Mon-Fri at 7pm. Running time 85 minutes. Please dress comfortably for the Irish weather!
Review of Sylvia's Quest / Dublin Culture
If you're in Temple Bar this July/ August (or Newbridge in September) you might spot a pretty girl dressed in yellow leading around a group of people wearing headphones. She's Sylvia Sylvana, the protagonist of Sylvia's Quest, a new show by Wonderland Productions. The play is set in contemporary Dublin and uses the city as its stage (Newbridge Town will be used in September). As Sylvia (played by Elitsa Dimova) guides her new friends through the streets she tells them about herself and the country she came from - the experience of the 'new Irish' is one of the production's main themes. Sylvia is a Bulgarian archaeologist who works in Dublin as a cleaner, and the concept of the show is that the headphones let the audience listen to sounds and voices which normally only Sylvia can hear. As an archaeologist far from her native land many of Sylvia's thoughts are of Thrace, the civilisation that existed in antiquity in what's now Bulgaria. (You know the one - it's where Spartacus came from.) The headphones also let us listen in on the phonecalls which provide much of the play's dialogue.
Immersive theatre - plays involving audience interaction with the characters, props or location - has been a popular part of recent theatre festivals. It's often quite provocative. Sylvia's Quest uses a gentler, less confrontational form of immersion. I loved it, and I think other immersive theatre productions should learn from it. There's a lot I could say about that - so I'll leave that for another article.
By its nature immersive theatre is more subjective than traditional theatre, and that is particularly true in this case given that Sylvia's Quest uses the streets of Temple Bar as its set (The Streets of Newbridge in September). The weather, curious glances (or comments) from perplexed onlookers, and Sylvia's conversations with the audience members guarantee that no two performances will be identical. This variation means I can't be certain you'll have as much fun as I did, but despite that I'm going to give Sylvia's Quest a five out of five.
Its innovative use of technology and contribution to immersive theatre are commendable - but most of all Sylvia's Quest is lots of fun.
Running time 85 minutes. As this is an outdoor performance it's recommended that you dress appropriately for the Irish weather. Tickets cost €16/€14 and are available from www.entertainment.ie. In September Sylvia's Quest will run as part of Newbridge 200 Festival from Riverbank Arts Centre. Due to its innovative use of radio technology in theatre Sylvia's Quest is part of Dublin City of Science 2012. The show has received support from the Arts Council and Dublin City Council.
Claire Bradley will be interviewing Alice Coghlan from Wonderland Productions on Artbeat on Dublin City FM on Wednesday 18th July at 8 pm.