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“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 an infinite choreographic 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. We invite young researchers from (3-6) years old to grab binoculars and carrots, take a seat in the forest and actively witness. The performance presents an array of stories and potential narratives: through fragments and open-ended narration we try to create a non-linear dramaturgy that gives space for contemplation, speculation and non-causal events. As well the music and soundscape are voluntary and non-verbal to allow a poetic logic beyond the semantics.

 

Benjamin Renner's book “Le Grand méchant renard” has formed the premises of the project. This French children’s book tells the story of animals at a farm and in the nearby forest, in France: three stolen eggs, a hungry fox parenting their future meal, a lazy dog, militant hens, beetroots, a bad wolf and a lot of confusion. Departing from the story we wanted to find a way to portray nature as grotesque, perverse, sensuous, metamorphic, strange and playful. 

 

The project gathers a choreographer, a costume designer, a musician and a visual artist around the medium of puppetry to challenge the aesthetics of object theatre and the parameters of reception at work in children's performances. Throughout the process we have reached out to various specialists in using puppetry in different ways to gain knowledge about the medium: a child protection educator who uses puppets as a means to work through children's traumas, puppet makers Tormod Lindgren and Bjørg Mykle’s ghost, endless videos on YouTube of different crafts and attending puppet shows of different genres, styles and techniques.

 

The saga consists of a series of short episodes. Each performance is the occasion to present three to five episodes (60 - 100 minutes) structured on alternate days and nights and continuously performed. The landscape dramaturgy of the piece allows for a situation that can host the attention and needs of our co-researchers: you know this situation when you are in the middle of the show and your diaper is full? Or when you are shit scared by the moving mountain? And if you are wondering who this is all about you can ask your neighbour, no one will hush you :) 

The episodic format, the adaptable setting and the narrative structure of the saga (many narratives cohabiting to form a larger one) allow us to keep the work alive and stay in the position of researchers. We will continue to produce more episodes, so it is possible to get fresh art for the kids. 

 

The performance is made by Alexandra Tveit (NO), Simon Asencio (FR), and Fredrik Floen (NO) feat. Sigrid Lerche (DK) in company with Moritz the fox, The Fluff, Cow and Horse, Rat, Goats, Ralph the Chicken, Mountain, Bacteria Ballet, D. Haraway, The Egg, The Big Object, the tweet, The Walking Trees, The Snail and many more. 

 

Episodes 1 2 & 3 premiered at Davvi Center for Performing Arts in November 2022 as part of DansefestivalBarents. Next residency period: February 2023 for rehearsal and development of new episodes is in the making. Episode 4 premiered at Kloden Theater for younger audiences in Oslo, in September 2023. 

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