Sometimes we enter a story so deeply, that it becomes our world. We can feel the wind blowing on the flowers, hear the call of the birds and watch the moon’s glow. In that moment, we know all we need to know. The secrets of the universe are simple; we only need to rise, to feel, to touch the sky, to cry, to find a friend.
Then the house lights come up, and we find ourselves in that other place, where we open our eyes and dreams disappear. That is the magic of theatre.
Since leaving that other magical realm of childhood, rarely have I been drawn into a work so completely as when I watched Maayan Iungman’s Op.1. The show took place in the context of Nisui Kelim #8, a three day festival of experimental interdisciplinary performing arts held at the Beit Tami Community Centre in Sheinkin Garden from August 16 – 18, 2011. Serendipity played its own modest part here; the performance was staged in a room that is usually reserved for preschool activities, a small room equipped with tiny blue wooden chairs. Sitting in the dark, low to the ground, just inches away from the set, I was almost literally inside the piece from the first moment.
There was paper everywhere. Enormous heaps of crumpled writing paper covered the floor, creating an island of writerly frustration that nearly hid the desk at their center. The writer sat deep in concentration, dressed in paper, with everything a writer needs: paper, pencil, lamp, wineglass and imagination.
It’s a perilous journey. The writer never knows what will emerge from all those words on paper. After hours and hours of writing, anything may happen, the lines between desperation and hope, dream and reality, begin to blur.
Something stirs, the writer, startled, seems to see the papers on her desk moving. A small paper figure emerges from the heap, and looks around at the audience as the music begins, and the sun rises in the universe of the imagination.
An adventure of the imagination and the heart, Op.1 is one of the most beautiful puppet theatre works I have ever seen. Created entirely of paper, the simple figures, timing, and technical aspects of the work (planned and executed to perfection), sustain the illusion that it is all really happening – and it is. Paper comes to life, the sun rises, and flowers grow out of the writer’s desk; the artist’s mind. At the heart of this work is Maayan Iungman.
Creator & performance: Maayan Iungman
Operator and fellow traveler: Karen Davidoff
Lighting design: Uri Rubinstein
Sound design: Dan Krager
Staff and fellow traveler: Gal Iungman