101 - The Theatre

Theatre Calgary, ATP and One Yellow Rabbit are all housed in the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts. The building is home to a fourth theatre, whose troupe and location remain a mystery to most. To find the theatre, which mounts performances twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, you must first acquire a key. The Key works, even though the lock you’ll need to use it on is the wrong shape.

Enter the elevator that leads into the Max Bell Theatre and insert your key into the elevator’s maintenance key-hole. Turn your key and punch all of the buttons in descending order. The doors will open on every floor, but the rooms beyond will be subtly wrong, and all inhabited by figures in strange papier mache masks that do nothing but render their features blank. Finally, instead of reaching the parkade, the elevator will drop you off in the lobby of the theatre.

The performance is ongoing, and is made up of two masked performers, both of whom face the audience. In clear, rhetorical English, they recite their lines twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, with no breaks or rest. The language of the play is convoluted and wrong, as through translated from Russian by someone with a loose grip on English. The words are almost meaningless, but they open a door in your mind. What they let in depends on whether they’re performing a comedy or a tragedy, but from that day on you’ll see the masks in crowds and never quite belong in this world.

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