The Contact welcomes Shams’ production of Reykjavik, an immersive promenade performance produced by Time Won’t Wait. The production takes an audience of 25 on a journey through one man’s memories of his time in Iceland, his lost love and his contemplations of the future. The production examines the pattern of electrical activity that the brain uses to recall a memory and has been advised by neuroscientist Hugo Spiers.
The story is intended as part travelogue, part forensic reconstruction, to which end the audience are dressed in boiler suits, taken into a vast white space and asked to look around the various props (or pieces of evidence). We are given roles as companions to Jonathan (performed by writer and conceiver Jonathan Young) who takes us on a multi-sensory journey of his history using reconstructions of events, our imaginations, light and sound to great effect.
It takes a certain kind of audience member to engage with an immersive interactive performance, but Jonathan is such a likeable character, who we trust immediately, that he allows us to forget our initial inhibitions. Soon we are participating in a French-speaking movement class, dancing wildly at a house party and donning blindfolds to be led around the space.
The co-directors Carolina Valdes and Lucinka Eisler have got the balance of narrative, interaction, sounds, dance and film just right to ensure the audience are constantly engaged and interested in a story told by one man that spans ten years.
There is a great deal of information to take in, and I’d like to say I’ll remember the science that I learned, but if nothing else I left the Contact with a vivid memory of a unique and exciting experience.