Bird, manipulate Festival, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Sita Piaraccini
Sita Piaraccini (deviser), David Pollock (Foley artist and musician), Alberto Santos Bellido and Ronnie Phipps (lighting design)
Sita Piaraccini
Running time

Bird is a one-woman show produced by FERAL and feral it is. Set in a post–apocalyptic world where basic survival is all consuming, a raggedy bandaged Sita Piaraccini with wild matted hair lets us experience vicariously her solitary daily search for sustenance through food or companionship, each being extremely thin on the ground.

From being nestled in earth and lying immobile with her back to the audience, she emerges cautiously alert and paces the space to the sound of a constant soft rattle that shakes like a tuneless maraca each time she moves. Loud gurgling and rumbling let us know that this is a very hungry woman who can make a feast of a foraged acorn yet manage to share some crumbs with a fellow survivor, in this case the eponymous bird, even in these dire straits.

This speech-free performance is augmented by live synchronised sounds from Foley artist David Pollock who brings brilliantly creates an array of sounds like snoring, chirping, creaking and squelching to which Piaraccini responds so expressively as she pads the earth with only a stick and her sharpened wits for protection.

She captures the scary reality of basic daily living in such extremity with sensitivity and believability, dealing at one point with the additional vulnerability of injury. The character is living in bleak conditions but this is not a bleak show. On the contrary, it is full of comic moments that engender sympathetic smiles rather than belly laughs. Her interpretation of sheltering herself against a pelting rain attack and storms with a strength that we are all sadly pretty familiar with these days is staggeringly good.

Bird has been developed to the hour long piece that was performed at manipulate 2016 from a 3-minute scratch for CONFLUX's PITCH event initially created in 2011 and performed at the Briggait. The result is a thoroughly absorbing example of high quality physical theatre from the wonderfully expressive Piaraccini whose work is worthy of Lecoq.

age recommend 14+, 4 February 6.05pm