A Wake for Lost Time ([elephants] collective) 2015 SummerWorks Review

A Wake for Lost Time SummerWorks

Time is many things. It’s fluid. It’s infinite. And it’s the one thing we all wish we had more of. A Wake for Lost Time, playing as part of this year’s Summerworks Festival Live Art series, is a non-stop, multi-disciplinary performance that explores the question: what is time really worth?

The material consists of approximately 2.5 hours’ worth of various vignettes, which are looped over and over throughout a 24-hour period. It’s an interesting experiment that studies how the physical and mental state of an actor can completely dictate the method and mood of how a  narrative unfolds.

As a standalone performance, A Wake for Lost Time makes relevant points surrounding the concept of time as it relates to the realms of politics, religion, growing old and various other aspects of day-to-day life. From an imaginatively quirky re-imaging of 2001: A Space Odyssey using marbles, action figures and trinkets to a powerful personal recollection of attending a state political coup –- and even a literal and thematic deconstruction of Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time” –- there’s great diversity in the tone and subject matter of the vignettes. There will inevitably be certain ones that will resonate with you more than others, but I found them to all be uniquely compelling in their own way.

You really do have to commend these brave (sleep deprived) actors. To give your all to a single performance is certainly something deserving of praise, but to run non-stop and still be fully present is nothing short of spectacular.

Unfortunately, my stamina eventually ran out and I wasn’t able to attend the full live performance. Luckily, the show was also being simulcast live on [elephants] collective’s Twitch channel. Theatre-goers were also encouraged to come and go as they pleased and drop in whenever they felt like it within the 24-hour performance.

It honestly felt very freeing to be able to experience this work at my pace, on my own schedule –- occasionally checking back online every few hours. And as I would check in, I would see the play transform before my eyes.

As the performers grew ever more tired and struggled harder and harder to keep their spirits up, the mood of this production would shift from an upbeat homage to the endless possibilities that time provides us, to a tragic remembrance of moments gone by.

A Wake for Lost Time blurs the line between theatre and performance art –- creating a powerful, fully immersive spectacle that is both timely and timeless in its execution. I loved this piece for its thoughtfulness and unabashed candor, and I think you will as well.


A Wake for Lost Time played non-stop for 24 hours starting at 8:23 PM on Friday, August 14th. The show itself runs for approximately 2.5 hours, and was hosted at hub14 (14 Markham Street).


All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at http://summerworks.ca, by calling the Ticketwise Call Centre at 416-907-0468, or in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth – located at SummerWorks Central Box Office at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street). Open August 4-16 from 10 AM – 7 PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee).

Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows.

Photo provided by the company