BARK AT WOODLAND CREATURES
Often during the Fringe you are fooled into thinking that the city perimeters begin around George Square and cut off at the top of Broughton Street,taking in every square inch in-between for Fringe happenings. It is refreshing however to see that Woodland Creatures in Leith Walk has courageously bucked this stagnating trend by opening up its doors and side space as a venue for various Fringe artists to perform their works in the spirit of what the Fringe originally set out to be. The ethos at the heart of this venture-a collaboration between Woodland Creatures and Bark Productions- is to give artists an opportunity to present their works without the added pressure of having to fill a venue on a daily basis, incurring expenses and debt along the way, but instead an opportunity to perform and allow the art to take first place as opposed to commerce.
So far there has been dance, music, film and cabaret all making use of the space and the programme is as varied as it is impressive; earning itself a reputation as a venue with a difference, several name acts have made impromptu appearances recognising the cachet of being involved in such a project. Many more are lined up for the duration of the Fringe including a Rebel Inc. night on the 19th, Treat by Creative Circus on the 19th and many more which can be found by logging onto the Bark Facebook page which has more details of what is to come as well as photos of what has already been, although the latter may make you wish you had made the effort before.
On the night I attended they were showing a series of short films-or fragments- of the Chaos Chronicles. A series of snapshots of an intertwined vision of a world in turmoil by father and daughter team, Lukas and Mayliss Zpira, documenting a world which has lost its way whilst its inhabitants are still trying to find theirs. Beautifully shot and exquisitely soundtracked it put its message across in terms which were always definite but never didactic. There was no judgment of others here merely a glimpse into the lives of those trying to retain and establish elements of their own culture without being consumed by outside influence.
The fact that Lukas and Mayliss have ben nomadic for the last fourteen years after losing their home and possessions during a fire shows their commitment to this project as they are not merely rich folk dabbling in others lives as artistic conceit but committed wholeheartedly to their beliefs. This is also refreshing and Mayliss was present at the screening, giving a short introductory talk, and speaking with her after I was struck by her composure, intelligence and concerns; all of which belie her eighteen years.
Certainly this night along with the others planned until Sunday the 24th are worth checking out. There are the added bonuses of being away from the mayhem of the city centre, a relaxing drink beforehand with no need to spend ten minutes in a queue, the option of having something to eat-I had an excellent Sunday roast whilst I was there- without an hour’s waiting time and not being rushed out onto the streets as soon as the performance is over.
Bark has performances Tuesday through to Sunday until 24th August, check their Facebook page or pop into the bar to pick up a flyer for details.