Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Taking the boy to The Forest


Me: We're going to see a show.

He: What's it about?

Me: Well, I'm not sure. I guess it's about forests. It's for kids. Take a look at this video:

He: I'm not going to like that.

Me: I thought it looked pretty cool.

He: I don't like it that they don't tell you what's going on. And it looks like there's no talking in it.

Me: I don't think there is any talking.

He: It's just dancing. I don't like stories with no story in them.

Me: Well, I don't think it's a story, exactly.

He: When there's no talking, and you can't tell what's happened, you spend all your time trying to figure it out. It's confusing.

Me: I'm sorry you don't like the idea, but I really want to see this, and you've come to other shows with me that you didn't think you were going to like, and you loved them.

He: I know you're going to make me go with you. I bet I'm going to be really bored.

I understand what he means. As recently as 5 years ago, I too, would have balked at seeing a show with no story, no speech, where meaning was conveyed through movement and sound. My mind still struggles to form meaning, to link up elements of any performance I see into a narrative. I'm still more at ease with story, would probably choose a narrative work over an abstract or impressionistic one, all other things being equal. And yet...I've now experienced performances that moved me deeply, or made me laugh out loud, that were not stories. I've learned, a little, to force my verbal to brain to shut up long enough to experience a kind of beauty that words can only hinder. Everything I've heard about The Forest suggests to me it may hold that kind of experience. So, off we go, this afternoon, one protesting 7-year old and I. Into The Forest. We'll leave a trail of breadcrumbs for you, if you want to follow.

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