A Night Behind the Looking-Glass
Curiouser and curiouser!
On 25 April 2014, RSLYA took part in the Russian Library Night for the first time. The object of this annual event is to support reading and encourage young people’s interest for books, literature, and libraries. A young adult library seemed a perfect place for teens and adults to go to on this night, so we decided to stage a huge and unforgettable event for our guests. The event was inspired by the paradox and twisted logic of world behind the looking-glass as seen in Lewis Carroll’s famous tale. In 2014, with support from the Lewis Carroll Society (UK) RSLYA started an Alice in Wonderland Year in Russian libraries to mark the 150th anniversary of the completion of this wonderful book.
14 different events happened at the library in three hours, and around 1000 people attended the Night Behind the Looking-Glass, which is as much as the library’s spaces could contain. All who came to the Night stayed until the very end.
Erken Kagarov, Art. Lebedev Studio art director, gave a most interesting talk entitled “The Big Bang Theory. The Composition of Everything”. Later he said it was one of his best talks. Meanwhile, in another space there was a fun improvisation workshop where everyone could learn to break the mould and be a truly free, spontaneous and creative person. While some were having fun, others were playing intellectual games: racking their brains over the Wise Caterpillar’s riddles, or playing word games in English. Science fiction lovers learned more about steampunk. Young poets from Project Shumstih recited their works from a podium, as Mayakovsky and Gumilev did a century ago. Willy Melnikov, experimental poet, photography artist and polyglot who speaks 104 languages demonstrated some of his original multilingual poetry and answered questions about polyglotism.
One of the most exciting events was the Comics Club’s birthday celebration: they opened an exhibition of modern Russian comics artists’ works inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and had a discussion with animator Alexei Minchenok.
All evening the guests were entertained by actors of the MOST theatre: dressed up as Alice, the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, and the Dormouse, they had a grand tea party with performances, quizzes and pleasant conversation with a tinge of madness.
We would like to thank our partners, participants, and all who came to our Night Behind the Looking-Glass; we hope our guests were happy and left the library filled with emotion and good memories.