By Kira Taylor @kirataylor15
I’m a writer. I never thought you could tell a story without words. Tonight, I was proved wrong.
Pinocchio was performed by the amazing Jasmin Vardimon Company, as part of the exetreme imagination festival. Through an amazing dizzying dance, dramatic music and narrating hands, swirling together to form a face, it told the story of Pinocchio.
The dance was an adaption of “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Italian author Carlo Collodi in 1883, during a time when the position of peasants was being questioned. The dance explored the questions of the time, whether peasants could be educated and become ‘real boys’ or whether they were the work force, the donkeys.
But it was still immensely enjoyable, even if you knew none of this political history – for me, politics is unavoidable. The children there enjoyed it just as much.
The dance was less of the Disney discovery of becoming a real boy and more about Pinocchio’s discovery of what it means to be human: through dangerous encounters and joyful dances, the marionette discovered curiosity, fear and loneliness.
For me, it didn’t really matter whether Pinocchio was a marionette or not. Laid out before us, was a journey through human emotions. There were the temptations of curiosity, dragging Pinocchio away from school and into the theatre; there were sly villains, who you knew should be terrifying, but somehow overcame that with their luring dances.
Through movement, the characters were expressed. Shy, timid Pinocchio on a journey to explore the world wobbled. The sly fox and cat snuck around him, luring him away. Overbearing, terrifying characters took up the whole stage and Geppetto’s desperate search for Pinocchio through desperate cries across an ocean.
The music was amazing, the sort of sounds that you feel in your chest. The music set the scene for each dance and almost acted as a second narrator, so that even before the dancers had begun to move, you knew the tone. The music lifted you or created a sense of foreboding. It was as good as a chapter heading – perhaps even better.
There were some really fun moments. The dancers created clockwork toys from robotic movements and it was hard to see that they were even human. One of my favourite scenes of the Disney film had to be the puppets and this was created (I won’t say recreated) in an amazing way. Puppets with strings danced and sprung and acted to their commanders’ hands, thanks to a complicated lifting system, which blended perfectly into the set.
The best bit had to be a dance to Crazy in Love.
The set was really imaginative, using shadows and projections and flying tables and chairs. Everything moved, even the walls, which I’m pretty sure aren’t supposed to normally. I enjoyed every minute of it and came away knowing words aren’t the only way to express yourself.
Other drama workshops part of exetreme imagination include Changing Worlds on Saturday
Dramas including Dick Tracy and The Forever Machine
The Jasmin Vardimon Company was founded in 1997 in London and is dedicated to the choreography of Jasmin Vardimon, who is renowned for unique style of combining physical theatre, quirky characterisation, text and dance. Other works include Maze, Freedom and Madame Made.