Bare Essentials Youth Theatre, Vagrants

Review in Issue 8-4 | Winter 1996

Vagrants explored the experience of power and disempowerment that is rooted in the adult-child dynamic. A group of disobedient children transgress parental rules, are sent away to summer camp and find themselves part of ‘The Hansel and Gretel Weekend’. This story provided the unifying context through which various mythical, personal and contemporaneous sources resonated. The performers represented the oppressed and oppressors in themselves, as children in Bosnia and more universally, as all ‘Hansels’ and ‘Gretels’. In this way, they addressed a common understanding that the journey, however literal, is necessary and central to the condition of living and growing-up. Whilst Vagrants marked a serious journey, it was also a playful piece. There were humorous sequences but implicitly these children understood how opposites inhabit each other. So the fairground games which engender playful fear hold the seeds of terror. Hands held up by a roller-coaster ride translated darkly with the sound of machine gunning. Still, silent, moving and vocal, the presence of these young performers was striking. A haunting soundtrack created by Joel Kendrick underlined the incredible physical ease of the company, who are guided by Carran Waterfield of Triangle. Simple elements resonated, like sticks which signified weapons, playthings, or boundaries in both child and adult contexts. Such impact relied on the sense of ritual which infused actions like the carrying and laying of sticks. Vagrants celebrated the human capacity to journey for change. As the piece closed, the company combined in a doorway which opened onto yet another crooked path.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 1996

This article in the magazine

TT 8-4
Issue 8-4
p. 22