Street theatre: Istid by Bergen Byspill
After buying wonderful new blue and red sneakers with golden stripes that change colours and glimmer as you do cartwheels, my daughter and I walked out onto VÂgsalmenningen to find we were the audience of a street performance. Four men and women dressed in long white dresses and wearing stilts danced with long white strands of gauze and long white sticks while music played and a voice narrated a bilingual allegory of how the ice was everywhere but then melted, making room for people and for the sun. “I liked the bit where the sun came out and it was a big yellow balloon”, my daughter said, but I found that bit a little silly, myself, and the red-clad woman prancing around the white stilt figures (life, and humans, I presume) was, well, let’s say it was a lot like watching children put on a show for the grownups.
Usually I like Bergen Byspill‘s performances. I love the way they use the city as a space for performance, and I love the way that they use strange puppets and unusual figures and the act of spectacle. The spectacle of these people on stilts was wonderful. The costumes were fascinating and the oddness of seeing white-clad people so impossibly tall was startling after a day’s mundane shopping.
One of the white-clad people was a bearded man. I was quite fascinated to find how quickly these figures I’d at first thought were dressed as brides became genderless to me. And so though the narrative and the waving was a little kitchy, I don’t care: I love taking fifteen minutes out of a day to marvel at men and women on stilts in long dresses.
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