Pacitti Company, The Forest

Review in Issue 18-1 | Spring 2006

The Forest is a trip into the collective unconscious of myth and fairytales, offering us a parallel commentary and reworking of familiar ideas and images: journey and transformation, the sex/death binary, sacrifice, earthly needs versus hearts' desires, the search for gold at the end of the rainbow, the purpose and value or otherwise of wishes and treasures, the magic helper that gets us through the task.

Key to the piece is the role and function of mythological characters: Propp's post-structuralist Morphology of the Folk Tale propelled into performance. The notion of shamanism – of one singled-out special person taking on a burden and being pushed to an extreme, shouldering things on behalf of a group who experience that journey as engaged witnesses – is another point of reference. The audience are led in and seated in a circle. We are all part of the ritual, but some (the artist/performers) have a special role to play. We witness poetic texts delivered, physical actions enacted, and are drawn into a passing of objects around the circle. As a visual piece it works well, being full of resonant pictures – a great pile of coins in the middle of the circle, hair blown by a fan (this a familiar image from Odin Teatret), ribbons embroidered with text, shadow-plays behind our heads which we are not allowed to turn to see but witness mirrored on the opposite side of the circle – but there is a question mark hanging over the performers' presence; an uncertainty in some of the performers about whether they are in character, adopting a mask or persona, or being themselves. I especially felt this about the beginning of the piece, before the audience enters the main space, in which we are asked to read and sign a contract. It all feels a little silly and that feeling is bolstered by the sense that the idea is delivered without conviction. So an uneven piece that feels like it could do with some reworking – but nevertheless a very good experience, rich with ideas, and offering images that haunt the soul.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Sep 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 18-1
p. 29