Edinburgh Fringe 2016
“A vast and desolate world. One lone creature, starved of both food and friendship. With only a patch of soil to call her own, she must be ready to seize every small opportunity that might fly by…”
We meet Bird as she sleeps in a crumpled heap surrounded by soil. It’s a mound of soil, a nest in the middle of nowhere.
Part clown, part movement artist and part bouffon – Bird is in her own gritty natural world and delicately moves through her days in short episodes separated by brief repose. Mischievous at times, Bird shows a subtle sense of humour at the situations she encounters. She is tender and waif like. Open face, with wide expressive eyes, played sensitively by Sita Pieraccini.
Wearing a dark raggedy threadbare layered costume Pieraccini’s Bird struts gently around her territory, flinching and reacting as she hears ominous sounds. She carries a stick that she uses in many ways, it’s intriguing and part of her. Standing on one foot, both feet, outstretched legs as she strides and skips. This is a well-defined space, and this movement artist is on a mission, nothing is random.
A unique element of this show is that David Pollock the Foley artist, who provides all the sound effects is in view onstage. This means every sound effect is produced as she drinks imaginary water or walks across imaginary dry leaves or crosses a river. While novel at first, the sound effects often seem unnecessary and at times are mildly irritating. For example, Pieraccini’s own natural sound as she moves across the soil and from her own breathing is masked by the sound effects and after a while the constant flow of sound overlay takes a little too much focus. However, certain sounds, like the wind blowing and howling are interesting and add a desolate feeling to the space and Bird’s life.
Lighting is very effective and well designed, the performance is in low light a lot, it’s a moody and mysterious atmosphere, with narrow focus spotlights, which highlight the visual storytelling.
Darkness, she sleeps again.
There is something otherworldly about this piece, it’s mysterious, in an unknown place and time. Pieraccini takes her time, and moves stealthily. This is a visually beautiful, silent piece, with sweet moments when she finds a purpose and tiny friend. At a running time of forty minutes it could benefit from being streamlined.
Bird is an enjoyable gentle curious performance with a lot of atmosphere.