To detail what happens inside Babel is to spoil the surprise.
And it’s been the greatest, most intriguing surprise of the festival, so I don’t want to ruin it for you.
The white lab coats in the photo are worn by a dozen or so performers/participants and when they wear them you probably won’t understand what they’re saying. Oh, you’re a participant, too, as your reaction and responses subtly shift the flow but don’t worry: you’re not on show or expected to do anything, other than what you cannot help but do.
You’ll contort yourself, physically and mentally, trying to locate what they’re saying but, if you’re in one of the spaces where more than one of them is speaking, you will have an experience that is alienating, enlightening and really very deeply affecting.
And a word on the spaces: perfect.
Babel isn’t set anywhere in particular but takes place on the vacant fifth floor of the ‘old Hydro building’, its retro architecture highlighted by low ceilings and offices with wooden doors and venetian blinds. The rooms of different sizes are all lit the same way – simple, dim, ominous.
It’s clever. So freaking clever.
Rush to see Babel – last day today, Saturday – but don’t rush once you’re inside it.
This is tremendously inventive and brave performance; creator Glen Murray and his cast have come up with something unlike anything you’ve experienced.
And that’s the surprise: you likely have experienced but not appreciated it.
Babel is a leveller. So clever.