Fully immersive, evocative experience, In the Ink Dark is a living poem comprised of conversations, podcasts, performances, and a publication. As maker and curator Luke Pell decrees, you can meet with each piece on their own or you can experience each piece as they relate to each other. There are five podcasts associated with In The Ink Dark-- “words to wander with.” The performance at the Scottish Poetry Library is a choreography of connection and memory, a reading of a poem that has been devised through many interviews conducted within places that hold stories and reflection: libraries, benches, gardens. This poem was borne out of the request, “Tell me about something you have loved and lost.”
Walking around at will, the audience is meant to witness dancers and actors interpreting this living poem through contemplative music and an exploration of how we all exist in a space. The poem is read aloud, accompanied with a BSL translator, as the two navigate the library, their words spinning around you. Each barefooted member wears simple grey linen, signifying unification and simplicity, the commonality of bare essentials and basic desires that connect us all.
Throughout the choreography, echoes of grounding technique, a re-orienting skill employed to keep oneself living fully in the present, are found not only in the movements of the performers but also in touching and seeing the surrounding books and people, and in discovering beauty in the small elements of staging throughout the library.
Hearing the words as wistful musings on comfort, memory, connection, and nostalgia evokes your own personal memories throughout the piece, bringing a tingle to your head and a softness to your gaze. There is a scene in the Harry Potter series where the Potions class concocts a love potion; it is meant to smell differently to different people according to what attracts them. This living poem explored collectively at the Scottish Poetry Library is a bit like that.
The books around you are stories, but the people around you are all stories as well, both the actors and your fellow onlookers. We are all wandering stories, leaving wisps of our thoughts in spaces in which we exist and connect. We are all words to wander with.
“Some things don’t make sense- these are the things we feel,” the programme states.
Like that love potion, In the Ink Dark will mean something different to each person who witnesses this evolving piece of theatre, dance, and poetry. A delight for lovers of words, a call to listen and share.