BRANCHES: The Nature of Crisis initiated and commissioned by National Theatre Wales as part of the Cultural Olympiad London 2012.
NATIONAL THEATRE WALES BRINGS A HEN WEEKEND TO A FLINTSHIRE FOREST – AND LIVE-STREAMS IT AT CARDIFF’S CITY CENTRE
PREMIERE ON THE 6TH OF SEPTEMBER 2012
BRANCHES: THE NATURE OF CRISIS, DIRECTED BY THE INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED CHOREOGRAPHER CONSTANZA MACRAS AND PART OF THE LONDON 2012 FESTIVAL
National Theatre Wales’ 22 production – and its third and final contribution to the London 2012 Festival – will be a visually extraordinary event staged in Wepre Park, Flintshire, and with a digitally interactive livestream on a high street in Cardiff. Mixing world-class dance and theatre, Branches: The Nature of Crisis will be an experience which mixes the world of the urban hen night with the rural fairytale.
Constanza Macras is inspired by the theme of transformation; a key theme in the Welsh myths of the Mabinogion a notable feature in Wales’ diverse landscape, and a significant sight on any high street on a Saturday night – hens in fancy dress.
The characters performing in Wepre Park will be victims of the Credit Crisis –. Macras will listen to and record stories from many of the people affected by the so-called ‘credit crunch’ in Wales – from unemployed teenagers to farmers who can no longer afford to grow crops – and weave them into her story, asking ‘what is the crisis transforming us into?’
On the production’s final weekend, images from the forest will appear on huge billboards in Cardiff’s city centre, a surreal mirror image of urban weekend nights, drawing young revelers away from their routines. The city audiences will be invited to interact with the action through their mobile and smartphones, and send text that will affect the world of the live performances.
Constanza and 12 performers – six Wales-based, and six from her acclaimed dance company DorkyPark – will work alongside musicians, local artists and community members, and an international creative team, to create this event.
Cast & Crew
Directed by: Constanza Macras
Dramaturg: Carmen Mehnert
Music by: Almut Lustig, Kristina Lösche-Löwensen
Emerging Director: Bambo Soyinka
Lighting Designer: Sergio de Carvalho Pessanha
DorkyPark performers and musicians: Ana Mondini, Miki Shoji, Hansel Nezza, Nile Koetting, Louis Becker, Almut Lustig and Kristina Lösche-Löwensen
Wales-based performers: Gareth Aled, Rosalind Haf Brooks, Catriona James, Adanna Oji, Jem Treays and Lara Ward
Following a winding trail through the trees, as darkness falls, you glimpse comical and disturbing urban/elfin figures swaying on rocky outcrops above you or lurking in dappled shadows by the river. Hen-night drunks, in lurid boas and leopard prints, squabble and stagger off on their own, sliding into embraces with tree roots. Dancing on the edge of steep drops and stone bridges, they also grapple and spin with dazed boy-clubbers in fur hats – the slippage between smooching and violence suggestively compacting whole relationships. Multi-tasking, Macras’s ensemble (of local performers and members of her Berlin troupe DorkyPark) also morph into rock musicians and storytellers. That said, Branches loses its way narratively, trying to interweave the medieval Welsh legends of the Mabinogion and the 1720 French banking crisis. The Independent, 09.09.2012
Branches: The Nature of Crisis, a choreographed tale from National Theatre Wales, is a wildly eccentric piece of work. It oﬀers large chunks of gripping storytelling from the Celtic Mabinogion, but the most unexpected thing about it is that Argentinian director Constanza Macras ’s real subject is economics. We are asked to consider – on rocky shelf and by running brook and beside trees with curtsying branches – not only the modern credit crunch but economic history: the South Sea Bubble and 18th-century Scottish economist John Law. It’s an evening of striking imagery. The Observer, 01.10.2013