The roaring sound of the crashing waves could be heard for miles around , like a chorus of wild and unruly voices. And then he realised that something was amiss in this world of whirling seas and dark clouds. "This is the only reality I can count on." Puggo said to himself. "Everything else is lost." He squinted, recalling a long-forgotten dream.
Puggo and his wife Rose live near the forest, trading herbs with nearby villages. Plagued by nightmares, Puggo’s long-lost fear of Tengu returns. As he makes one of his regular trips to the forest, he encounters the Yokai, mischievous demons awoken by his fears. After spending the night in their company, he awakes in the morning metamorphosed into a snail. From there Puggo struggles to accept his new condition.
The big leaves shimmered in the early dawn light and the sweet scent of them filled Puggo’s nostrils. His eyes now meet the sky which was broken by the tops of trees and the pearly hues of dawn gradually turned to a dusky pink.
The play explores the human struggle for existence and meaning, an ever-important quest, especially in today's culture, which favours consumption and distraction over self-reflection.
In an expressionist style, physical theatre, in the form of Butoh, is interwoven with the dialogue, anchoring human emotions into physical reality.
Emotions are the central focus of Puggo’s Dream. Emotions are magnified by every dramaturgical element of the performance: dialogue, movement, light, sound and set even, through its absence.
The bare stage brings focus to the action, to the characters, and their turmoils. Butoh, a highly choreographed Japanese movement, emphasises their emotions, often to a caricatural extreme. The light, cold and blue for most of the play, combined with full-body makeup, serves to emphasise a nightmarish atmosphere to the audience, reflective of Puggo’s fears.
The music, also constant and performed live by the band Die Kur, known for energetic performances and creative approach to music, brings yet another layer of expressionism to the narrative. Having live musicians allows the music to become an intrinsic part of the narrative, adapting to the live-action, and evolving with each performance. It also draws the audience in, and while no attention is drawn to the band on stage, they are still visible and become one more actor in the story.
All the dramaturgical elements of Puggo’s Dream work together, to bring the audience into the dream, to bring it to feel as Puggo feels on this journey of self-acceptance.
During childhood, everyone goes through the process of learning who they are as a person, but many give up on further self-development in adulthood, often because of social pressure, cultural background, or their environment, especially in our current culture, which favours consumption and distraction over self-reflection.
Puggo’s Dream deals with the subject of neglected self development and the naïve fantasy of greener grass, always out of reach.
Puggo lived his life unaware of his own feelings. His fears, reawakened in dreams by his subconscious mind in need of expression give birth to the Yokai, the consequence of his self neglect. Only by facing them can he discover a new self, his true self, a snail.
His snail form represents his feelings of inadequacy, but it is very real, Puggo is a snail and always was. Thus he must come to terms with his new condition, let go of the dreams of greener grass, and accept himself.
Puggo had a Rose, for many years he was dreaming about greener grass and pushed away the only person he loved, to the point of non return.
He had to go through a process of change to understand what he lost and to grow anew, but it cost him a Rose.
James Holdsworth, CamilaAbrantes,
Michael Molino, Milica Guceva, Lana Helena Hulenic,
Viktor Toth, Olja Mladjenovic, Tobias Lewis
SOUND AND ORIGINAL SCORE
This play was performed in Theatro Technis summer 2019 during the Camden Fringe festival. Puggo will be performed again in the near feature on a bigger stage with few changes. Puggo's Dream is currently being adapted into a book.