Wednesday, August 28, 2013

HIDDEN AWAY Performance Explores the Library at Night

By: Sarah Freeman

Timothy A. Hand and Juana Farfán perform in HIDDEN AWAY, 
created by Nicole Livieratos and Phillip DePoy. 
Photo by Jamie Hopper courtesy of The Lucky Penny.
For most of us the public library is a place of reverence and mystique. We visit by day, creeping through the stacks until we find an awaiting book, then quietly slip away, trying to disturb the masses of volumes as little as possible. This fall, however, the Decatur Public Library and The Lucky Penny have teamed up to provide access to a previously forbidden world. HIDDEN AWAY, the library at night gives audience members a rare chance to venture into secret territory, lit dimly by reading lamps, where characters are animated and words come alive. As the sun goes down, librarians rush past, dancers teeter across bookshelves, pages rustle, whispers aloft. 

HIDDEN AWAY is a new dance theater work created by award-winning artists Nicole Livieratos and Phillip DePoy to celebrate and reengage with one of our culture’s most treasured institutions. Performances will take place inside the Decatur Library between August 31 and September 7. The show’s opening weekend corresponds with the 2013 Decatur Book Festival, offering bibliophiles the chance to descend upon the neighborhood’s literary landmark for a nighttime saunter through the stacks.  Embracing the democratic spirit of the library, all 12 performances will be free to the public.

Livieratos and DePoy, long admirers of each other’s work, contemplated collaboration on an original performance for several years. When the idea of library as a performance venue was introduced, they knew it was time to make their visions a reality. Both artists frequently combine and bend artistic genres, so the library’s wealth of textual, aural and visual inspiration provides the perfect environment. Explains DePoy, “I first worked with Nicole on BEOWULF at Theatrical Outfit in 1993. Largely owing to her work on the project, it remains my favorite piece of theatre. In some ways, HIDDEN AWAY is a continuation of that ethos, in that it’s environmental, it takes place in a darkened hall, and it makes use of nearly every kind of performance that exists in Western Theatre. Music, words, movement, sound, light, and, more than anything, an element of surprise, or mystery, all combine to create, we hope, a uniquely exciting experience.”

Exhilarated by the vision of an engagement between arts and literature, and recognizing the potential impact on libraries and communities across the country, fledgling arts organization The Lucky Penny jumped at the chance to produce this performance. With overwhelmingly generous support from the Decatur and Atlanta community, and especially from the library itself, HIDDEN AWAY has flown from the pages of a notebook to the grounds of an institution. With over 20 performers flitting from room to room, no two audience members will have the same experience, just as no two readers experience a book the same way. 

Performances are August 31 (7:00 and 8:30pm), September 1 (7:00 and 8:30 pm), September 5 (7:00 and 8:30 pm), September 6 (7:00, 8:30 and 10 pm), and September 7 (7:00, 8:30 and 10 pm). Gather outside the library’s Sycamore Street entrance 15 minutes prior to show time. Admission is free and no tickets or reservations are required. Free parking behind the library is limited. Use area lots or MARTA. More information can be found at

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