Once upon a time, there were three individuals who had many lives and liked each other and wanted to work together. They were all experienced and skilled in their own way, and they all looked at each other with mutual respect, love and curiosity. One day they discovered a story about a fox and many other furry characters. The animals whispered to them: wanna make a puppet theatre? Although they had never made a puppet theatre before, they will venture into the world of puppetry to find work ethics where the puppet and the puppeteer are mutual guides, and to define caring ways of attending to each other without assuming each other’s otherness.
(A pre-project in collaboration with Alexandra Tveit and Simon Asencio.
With support from the Norwegian art council 2020)
“It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what descriptions describe descriptions, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories.”
― Donna J. Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene»
“When Animals do something that we like we call it natural. When they do something we don't like we call it animalistic” J. D. Weinrich
"Maybe the big bad fox" is a puppetry saga exploring the lives of nonhumans through the lens of materials, movement, costume, music, and choreography.
With a bunch of things and songs, human puppeteers animate a world where animals, bacteria, and plants are telling stories about different kinds of families, different forms of life, and different ways of being with others. Through an ever-growing series of short episodes, the puppetry saga composes and composts stories about a multi-natural world.
Based on Benjamin Renner's book “Le grand méchant renard”, the project gathers four makers Fredrik Floen (costume designer), Simon Asencio (visual artist), Sigrid Lerche (musician, visual artist), and Alexandra Tveit (choreographer) to explore the medium of puppetry in order to challenge their practice, the aesthetics of object theater and the parameters of reception at work in children theater.
The aim is to create a flexible performance (in format, duration, and set) to meet children in different contexts and locations: institutions, living rooms, gardens… The episodic format, the adaptable setting (an expandable textile map that functions both as a stage, backdrop, backstage, and support for the stories), and the narrative structure of the saga (many narratives cohabiting to form a larger one) will allow us to keep the work alive and stay in the position of researchers.
As queers, we feel we are constantly negotiating with society on how (visible) we should be, what to base our family values on and when to go with the flow and when to be (an) alternative. Can queerness be thought of as an attitude towards life and creative processes rather than an identified style or a diversity policy checkbox? Can we formulate with this process political questions without stating their politicalness as a subject matter?
Myra Hird writes in her essay Animal Trans: “In most cultures, and for most people, nonhuman animals are symbolic. It matters less how non-human animals behave, and more how we think they behave. Nonhuman animals exemplify human-animal qualities like the family, fidelity, selfless care for young, and perhaps above all, sex complementary (that feminine and masculine are categorically different and complementary) ” We then wonder: what about ‘against nature’ nonhuman animals' behaviors? With this work we want to address non-human animal behaviors that do not exemplify normative human qualities. This is a challenge, given the anthropomorphic tendencies of the medium of puppetry. How to let things express themselves instead of making them speak on our behalf?
The performance is co-funded by the Norwegian Art Council, supported by the Fund for Performing Artists and co-produced by Grenland Friteater (NO) and PAF - Performing Arts Forum (FR)