Theater: "Susurrus"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The premise that the entire world's a stage is pushed to interesting extremes by Glasgow playwright David Leddy, who this month brings "Susurrus" to Franklin Park Conservatory.

Presented jointly by the conservatory and the Wexner Center for the Arts, the play has garnered rave reviews internationally and will be adapted specifically for its run at the Near East Side botanical gardens.

It's not like the plays you're used to.

"Susurrus," which means a soft murmur or whisper, dips into familiar dramatic territory by following a family through times of love, separation and loss. Some have even called the work a contemporary reimagining of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Yet there are no actors, no stage - just an audience of one. You rent an iPod, and an audio narrative guides you along a mapped route through greenhouses and outdoor gardens. Two listeners will be admitted every 15 minutes, and reservations are available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

In reality, Leddy's creation is equal parts audiobook, guided hike and performance art.

What unfolds during the 90-minute journey is a story about beginnings, endings and family ties once honed in Old World forests. Atmospheric sounds, snippets about Shakespeare and facts about wildlife swaddle the thick, endearing Scottish voices who take time to sit back and remember.

It's a groundbreaking work sure to change your perception of what counts as theater.


Oct. 14-24

Franklin Park Conservatory

1777 E. Broad St., Near East Side