Tram Theatre, Plume d’Ange

Review in Issue 14-4 | Winter 2002

Out of the dark we witness the manifestation of one large, solitary, hovering white feather, suspended mid-space between the audience and the set where the story of Plume d'Ange unfolds. Tram Theatre, based in Berlin, is a company of puppeteers, a video artist, an actor and a scenographer.

This is a production that relies on the powerful suggestive force of images, fusing traditional puppet manipulation skills and shadow play with new technology – video projection and not-so-new slide projection. The video image of the feather fades away, and through the screen we see the hero of the story, Augustin, a weary pyjama-clad man, preparing for sleep. Visited by an angel in the dead of night, he finds in his possession a feather, a gift from his nocturnal visitor leaving him with the task to convince just one person that angels exist. The goal – to spare humanity from suffering.

His journey is sepia toned in a despairing twilight world where his visionary claims are shunned. It's a very cheerless tale, yet illuminated by some fantastic slide projections, such as a corner of a chair taken from the angle of a chair leg, and some clever visual perspective and scale changes, such as what appears as an aerial shot of Augustin strolling on a cold empty pavement.

He is a little man on a lonely mission in a world that fails to be enlightened. We witness him in his nightmare and the experience is a sombre one, where the poetry and the utopia of a dreamer finds bleak confrontation in reality.

This production, although so technically full and expertly articulated, maintains something of a heavy atmosphere throughout. The lightest thing about it is the feather. A moment of relief comes at the end when finally the screen lifts for the first time and it is as if we wake from the same dream as Augustin. We see him vividly, there where he started in his little bed, and he peers back at us. A perfect moment of connection and clarity.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2002

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-4
p. 25