Kate Cayley and Alex McLean bring The Archive of Missing Things to Sheridan

Alex McLean. Photo Credit:  James Arthur Maclean

This Winter, Sheridan Writer-in-Residence Kate Cayley brought Alex McLean from Halifax’s Zuppa Theatre company to Sheridan to discuss the intersection of games and theatre with our CW&P students. First year degree students in the program’s Narrative and New Media class got a special visit from both artists in Week 8.

As part of the experience, all CW&P students got access to Kate’s interactive theatre piece, The Archive of Missing Things. [Link] Originally conceived as a live theatre experience with Zuppa, Kate wrote The Archive of Missing Things in collaboration with the company as both a theatre piece and an online game experience. The 90-minute game asks players to follow a trail of prose and images an through an imaginary archive that hosts a record of everything that anyone has ever lost. While the game is constructed around a clear goal that invites players to find the “heart” of the archive, the experience is entirely about the journey and the experience of reading the interconnected short narratives.

Illustrator Credit: Colleen MacIsaac

Zuppa is a Halifax theatre company that makes collaborative theatrical work, using an improvisation-inspired process.  Alex McLean explained the workings of the company to the students during his visit, describing how the Archive of Missing Things emerged by accident as when the actors tried working under-the-radar in a university library.

Illustrator Credit: Colleen MacIsaac

The first-year CW&P students all gave the game a good try over Reading Week, though they confessed that not a single one of them made it all the way to the heart of the archive. Students responded to the evocative writing in the game, permeated by a sense of loss.

This has been just one of many public talks and events Kate Cayley has run during her tenure as Writer-in-Residence, which most recently included hosting the Ampersand Reading Series on March 12, featuring poet Cassidy McFadzean, and Giller-winning author and poet Johanna Skibsrud. 

Illustrator Credit: Colleen MacIsaac

Anyone can play The Archive of Missing Things for $2.00 online here.