The day my dad became a bush was a very special theatre production. The task was to create a small architecture form in context of existing building of school. This unusual performance was showed in the public schools. That was a really special case when the theatre came to the audience, not on the contrary. The main goal was to create an interesting tension between designed object and existing space (school building), so that the audience (children) could experience the familiar space of school in different state: some strange element was disturbing.
The day my dad became a bush is a story about a young girl who had to leave her country for the reason of the war. Her father became a soldier but just before he had left, he told her about camouflage technic. She’s travelling thru her homeland head into the frontier of neighbour country, where there was no war, and where she’s hoping to find her mother. The story is told like a fairy tale. The adventures of main character are scary but also a little bit magical. We wanted to talk with children seriously about this topic and give them an opportunity to face the problem instead of protecting them by not talking about difficult subject.
We believed that an intelligent arrangement of stage and audience zone may give an interesting tension of this two spheres. This is how we understand the political notion in set design. Our seek was to design a democratic space for people. A special common space. The children were setting in the circle, around the main object of set: a huge cage. The cage had a metal grid and a door into, which made an unpleasant sound when opening. There was even a key to this door. The main character was imprisoned inside. That was a very strong image, which let children to feel deeper a story of the girl. The fact that they were sitting around also helped them to better communicate with the story. The situation of siting in the circle is very primeval: it’s gathering around the fire and sharing the stories. This arrangement is much more intimate than just normal situation for audience (taking a seat in line in audience zone). At the end of show during educational activities children could experience the space by choosing on which side they want to locate themselves: inside or outside of the cage.
The material, shape and function of the designed space were planned very carefully.