Lift is a performance situated in the smallest of spaces, an elevator. Once the doors close, a contemporary office worker (Shawna Dempsey) begins to tell her fellow passengers a story. Her 20-minute looping story-cycle interrupts the normal flow of 9-to-5 with a fairy tale about a modern woman’s descent into a mysterious underworld. The gothic fable explores the pliable nature of time, and the ways in which our perception of time affects our actions, inactions and relationships. Just as Einstein used a moving train to describe time and relativity, Dempsey and Millan use the elevator to discuss time and mortality. The performance takes place in an actual office building over an entire business day or week. The riders/audience generally only experience excerpts from the tale during short journeys. Sometimes they choose to ride to extra floors. Sometimes they swap details with their fellow workers over the water cooler. The full story is accumulated as the day or week progresses. First performed September 2008, at the invisible cities performance festival, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Text published in Bedtime Stories for the Edge of the World, Arbeiter Ring Press, 2012.
For more information about Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, see shawnadempseyandlorrimillan.net.