Aamira And Gad
Cavern – The Vaults
Reviewed – 22nd February 2020
“Content follows form in this beautifully created production”
Bee in my Beanie use puppetry, audience participation and multi-layered narrative to explore how relationships are governed by war in a splendid new work of immersive theatre – Aamira and Gad.
Upon entering the site, audience members are co-opted as new recruits to the Society of Archivists. The society leader – a mole-like puppet (embodied by the wonderful movement of Thomas Delacourt) – soon emerges to lay down the law. We are to observe, report on, but not interfere with the ensuing events.
Message understood, we move further into the space and to a second narrative layer. Now observers – we meet Aamira and Gad – two children on opposing sides of a conflict. Aamira (Demi Wilson-Smith) is a third-generation story teller searching for a key. Gad (Emma Zadow) is a young boy from a long line of soldiers who has found a key. As the two tell their own tales and tussle to understand each another we learn that their lives have been tragically intertwined. The question is – will we, as Junior Archivist, dare to ignore the Arch Archivist, interfere with events, and bring the tale to a different ending?
Each time the two children tell a story their words are brought to life by beautiful movement pieces performed by Delacourt, Alexandra Ewing and Lyla Schillinger. As Movement Director, Ewing has brought ample helpings of the spirited, child-like play that is at the heart of the company’s ethos. The production blends audience participation; layered, storytelling and movement pieces into a complex whole. Making direction as much about the finnicky world of event management as it is about artistic delivery. Co-Directors Tess Agus and Katherine Sturt-Scobie overcome each of these hurdles superbly to deliver a smooth production without ever losing the rich fantasy of the performance. Set consultant Charlotte Cross and Music Director Edward Watchman each bring additional layers of depth to the immersive experience.
Content follows form in this beautifully created production. The company worked with social psychologist, Dr. Smadar Cohen-Chen to understand how people relate to one another whilst living through war. What emerged was importance of hope and narrative in overcoming the barrier imposed by conflict. The use of audience participation to deliver this message is terrific. In weaving the audience into the story, the company help us to understand how we are each responsible for the narratives of the world and that we each have the power to change them.
Reviewed by Euan Vincent