New Group Offers Anti-eBook Theatre Experience
A new theatre has opened in London vowing to “defeat the eBook.” Calling itself the “Luddite Playpen”, this formidable bastion of selectively hysterical backwardness has already had staggering success with a niche audience.
John Man, ringleader of the group, explained the theatre’s rationale: “The original form of human communication was the written word, printed on paper, bound in commercially sellable books,” he said. “If we’re going to pervert this noble form by saying beautiful, printed words out loud with our filthy human mouths, then we should at least ensure the whole experience is as book-like as possible.”
The Luddite PlayPen experience begins with a parcel; each audience member is given a box of books which they must carry around with them for the duration of the play. “This recreates the joys of owning books. Lifting them, carrying them, but most of the time not reading them, just packing them up into boxes and shuffling them around. The next generation is in serious danger of missing this golden rite of passage.”
During the play the audience is offered gentle, intermittent reassurance that all is swell in the world in the form of an on-stage page turner who reading the play silently from a real book as it is “acted” by “actors” with their filthy human bodies. At the appropriate time he loudly turns the page, letting the sweet sounds of dextrous paper-touching echo throughout the hall, reminding the audience that books exist and the fate of the world has not been compromised.
As the audience leaves the theatre they are sprayed with a bespoke perfume called “Penguinacia.” This captures the scent of a new book and has been known to cause paroxysms of orgasmic delight in some of members. It was no less a figure than Leo Tolstoy who pioneered the first formula for Penguinacia. Though he spent eight years carefully detailing more than five hundred characters in a sweeping survey of human life to create War and Peace, one of the greatest literary masterpieces in history, his main goal all along had been to enjoy the romantic smell of dusty, decaying paper. He eventually realised there was a way to maintain this fetish without involving literature at all.
We asked Man if he would ever consider using an eReader but he snorted in irrational disgust. “Though I have never used one and don’t understand them,” he said, paying for his meal with a credit card while texting his wife, “I believe that words should always be printed on paper no matter what.”