In a great, white dress our heroine tiptoes amid the branches of a miniature forest. Is it safe? A herd of goats emerges from the folds of her sleeves, where they’ve been waiting. They huddle around chewing biscuits and bleating, happy – until danger comes. An enchanted sword is forged from black tape, mountains arise. A brave crossing turns to perilous flight. Then the heroine must slip on a new guise, and everything changes again. She’s the girl in the forest, the beauty, the goblin, the queen, but she’s playing in worlds that aren’t her own, and a fairytale is more than a single telling. Through every story, stalks the wolf.
Directed by Belgian artist Inne Goris, Dregs is wordless theatre for ages 4-6. It distils the essence of fairytales – what is left when the rest is broken down by time and retelling – to reveal ideas and figures that will be familiar to all children, of all ages. Red in the forest, the witch’s apple, a frog waiting on his kiss – resonant images, drawn with a visual artist’s attention to line, colour and light. For children, it’s an adventurous journey that takes them to the dark heart of the fairytale, and out again. For adults, it returns a memory of the bedroom and its play: a held breath, a game of crossing a room without touching the floor – an imagination that unfolds while the world sleeps.
Dregs became Once Upon A Story, 4 pieces for children aged from 3 – 15 and played at the Manchester International Festival 2013.