I dragged Big Friendly off to his worst kind of thing – an ‘out-there’, solo theatre/dance performance at The Arena on the Drama School campus which is on until Saturday (I think) called Very Short Stories of Creatures and Their Journey Towards a Home. And it was really good enough for him to say that even though it was most definitely not his cuppa, he still got it and even appreciated the performer and her skillfulness.
This strange little piece is performed by Jori Snell and co directed by Iben Nagel Rasmussen who hail from Copenhagen. The show is non-linear and each little section has its own tiny story, with some more successful than others. The little set is made up of a spinning apple on a string, an old fashioned (what one isn’t?) record player, a hanging light and a screen at the back. Then Jori makes use of the most extraordinary props and costumes to create characters and images and the performance includes some text, movement and dance and a beautiful sound track.
I found the show mostly delightful with quirky, funny moments as well as moments of beauty, frailty and vulnerability. Some of my favourite things were the pink moonbag mouth, the eyelash character, the lantern puppet and the floating light feet. Jori is a master transformer, moving magically from one crazy scenario to the next and sorting out complicated technicals all behind the little screen. Some of the scenarios were a little too long or repetitive and I did have moments where I zoned out. The Dolly Parton Jolene scene was the only one that I just didn’t get.
I also had a moment of sweeping nostalgia and “wait, we did that first!” when she used Laurie Anderson’s “It was a large room” song. Peter Hayes and Melinda Ferguson used that in their most unbelievable show Live Technology in 1987! I claimed it when I took over Peter’s part in 1988, twenty years ago!
Tonight’s audience was very small and choep still although they clapped appreciatively at the end. I hope more people will go and see it (but I have me doubts). I found it very inspiring. And Big Friendly was fascinated with Jori’s most amazing, muscular back.