Fevered Sleep, Yarn

Review in Issue 10-3 | Autumn 1998

Despite being told the journey I was about to undertake into the dark would be enchanting, and that there was nothing inside to frighten or alarm, I still felt uneasy as I walked barefoot and blind clutching onto a single thread as a guide. But this, of course, is the point. Yarn was conceived for BAC’s Theatre in the Dark season, as an exploration in storytelling: an exercise to demonstrate the body’s capacity to make sense of its environment without sight.

Having surrendered my shoes in return for a purse containing three coins, I travelled alone over a variety of surfaces – sand, turf, damp earth, against a soundscape of woodland and seashore sounds. Gradually characters loom out of the dark, to request a coin or gently place something sweet in my mouth. The thread which delineates a pathway through the black space eventually becomes a coil of yarn spun by a woman who tells the story of a little girl’s quest to find her dead mother. It soon becomes apparent that the journey she describes is actually the one I’ve just made.

This framing device connects the disparate sections of the installation and gives meaning to what might otherwise have remained an enigma. But it is, in a way, a disappointing denouement. By explaining so literally the journey I’d just taken, the company denied me the opportunity to make sense of the environment and explain it for myself. More physical interaction with the players would also have been interesting. But, ultimately, this is a fascinating experiment which raises all sorts of possibilities for the way we both tell and interpret stories.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jun 1998

This article in the magazine

Issue 10-3
p. 24