Our plans are always overturned
Says the King and continues
We think that we rule things
and they trample on us
Black Forest Group presents the play of the awarded French writer Philippe Minyana ‘The Little Girl in the Dark Forest‘, an adaptation of the myth ‘Procne and Philomela’ deriving from ‘Metamorphoses’ by Ovid.A multimedia play; a synthesis of theatre, cinematography, microsculpture, video-art and music under the direction of Pantelis Dentakis.
‘The Little Girl in the Dark Forest‘ is presented in Athens in KET, from January 20th to April 14th, supported by the French Institute of Greece.
The Little Girl in the Dark Forest
The King and his spouse little sister arrive in the King’s land. Before they reach the palace to meet the Queen, they stop in a cottage, in the Dark Forest. The King rapes the Little Girl, cuts off her tongue so that she cannot reveal his detestable act and abandons her helpless, while he returns to the palace. Presumably devastated, he tells his wife that her sister fell off board and drowned during a thunderstorm. However, to his bad luck, an old lady appears in front of the Queen and gives her a scarf embroidered by her sister, which narrates the young woman’s rape and amputation. The Queen leaves to find the Little Girl in the dark forest and together they organise their revenge. They kill the King’s young son, cut him in pieces, cook him and serve him to his unsuspecting father to eat. The play finishes with the transformation of the three tragic characters into birds which fly away from the palace, far from the human world.
About the text
Minyana creates a harsh text, which moves between narration and theatrical action, creating a world of arrogance, distortion, vulgarity and revenge. The characters enter a tragic cycle of blood, which will close only when they are completely crushed. The story unfolds in an obscure setting, where monstrous instincts hide even behind the innocence of childhood. Morbidity gives rise to even more morbidity, violence rages for punishment, crimes are faced with the most heinous act. However, Minyana – faithful to Ovid’s myth – gives his characters a ‘second chance’ in the finale; transformed into birds, they are liberated and redeemed from human fate, thus the play ends with the hope of a new, immaculate life.
The structure of the play
The play is an artistic synthesis of theatre, cinematography, microsculpture, video-art and music. The protagonists of the show are small sculptures representing the five play characters, the Little Girl, the King, the Queen, the Old Lady, the Son.
The two actors give voice to the miniatures through microphones, move them in space, but at the same time interact, identifying with the characters of the story. They constantly switch roles; from narrators to actors, from animators to sufferers.
The setting of the play consists of a two-screen construction where the surrounding areas in which the miniatures act (the forest, the cottage, the palace, the garden, etc.) are projected via video-art.
At the same time, in the background (above and behind the actors) an elaborate version of the video-art is presented through video projection, including the miniatures, playing with montage and different shots, focusing on the faces, bodies, details of the small sculptures.
The sound environment forms an essential part of the play. Music and sounds are present throughout the play, aggravating the sense of anxiety and a feeling of the ominous.
About the play
The Little Girl in the Dark Forest is like a dark chess game, where the pieces come to life and the players experience the game as a matter of life and death. A fantasy microcosm is created, in which the characters are trapped and their fate depends on the animator-God.
The play forms a conversation of different arts. The miniatures act in the decor of the video art; the actors give them voice and instill life in them; the camera focuses on the looks and details of the microsculptures; the music complements this sense of a horror film. The initial impression is that the actors breathe life into the miniatures. However, gradually, it seems as if the sculptures become independent, self-existent, and transform into huge creatures-monsters through the cinematic projection, with the actors shrinking and looking small and weak compared to them.
Using different tools a simultaneous narrative is created by different sources; as if each medium narrates in its own way the tragic story; as if playing not all but some of the notes of the score, if we can imagine the play as a musical composition and every medium as a musical instrument. Each medium forms a separate entity and could tell the story – in part – on its own. But all the media do not just tell a story. They create a transcendental, poetic field where the audience, with his imagination, comes to add his own piece and thus complete the world of the play.
The Uncontrolled is set at the heart of the play. No matter how much the heroes wish to determine, to control the course of things, Life makes its decisions. As the King says devastated, shortly before he turns into a bird; ‘Our plans are always overturned. We think that we rule things and they trample on us’. And yet, admitting precisely this, that things are out of our total control, however frightening and painful that may be, is in fact so liberating.
The play is structured and designed in such a way that it can travel easily and be staged in different places. The unique synthesis of media and arts enables this particular work of art to relate aesthetically to both theatrical and industrial spaces, galleries, museums, and small outdoor spaces.
It can be presented with English or French subtitles.
Running Time: 70 minutes
TEXT: Philippe Minyana
TRANSLATION: Dimitra Kondylaki (in the framework of the Theater translation workshop at the French Institute)
DIRECTOR: Pantelis Dentakis
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Yiorgos Kritharas
CREATION OF SCULPTURES: Clio Gizeli
VIDEO ART: Apostolis Koutsianikoulis
STAGE INSTALLATION: Nikos Dentakis
COSTUME DESIGNER: Kiki Grammatikopoulou
MUSIC DIRECTOR: Stavros Gasparatos (in collaboration with Yiorgos Mizithras)
LIGHTING DESIGNER: Sakis Birbilis
TECHNICAL ADVISOR: Panagiotis Fortounis
PHOTOGRAPHY: Domniki Mitropoulou
COMMUNICATION: Yeorgia Zoumpa
PRODUCTION: Black Forest
CAST: Polydoros Vogiatzis, Katerina Louvari-Fasoi
Supported by the French Institute of Greece