Max Porter’s novel Lanny begins with Dead Papa Toothwort slipping “through one grim costume after another as he rustles and trickles and cusses his way between the trees”. He is the Green Man myth of decay and renewal, of chaos growing into hope; “he pauses as an exhaust pipe, then squirms into the shape of a rabbit snare, then a pissed-on nettle into pink-strangled lamb. He plucks a blackbird from the sky and cracks open the yellow beak. He peers into the ripped face as if it were a clear pond. He flings the bird across the forest stage, stands up woodlot bare, bushy, and stamps his splattered feet.” He is tree bark and discarded Western rubbish. He changes form. He is unfixed and without end. He pauses, roughly the size of a flea, to listen to and gargle the fizz of human sound.
And I am reminded of this shapeshifting ability each time I enter Dancehouse not knowing where I will go and what the space will be, pausing, in my own way, as an exhaust pipe before later mutating into a flea. I am especially reminded of this as I enter the upstairs theatre space for the white-cell artifice and confinement of Lara Kramer’s Windigo, were performers Jassem Hindi and Peter James wait.
Hindi and James are two sunken forms, slouched into (and possibly becoming) two mattresses. They continue to mark time as the audience fills ‘their’ space, their no-man’s land, and assume it for their own: that’s the one-sided deal, right? They are wasting time, in a wasteland of debris and mattresses. And they are in a way, jangling in their “various skins, wearing a tarpaulin gloaming coat . . . . tingling with thoughts of how one thing leads to another again and again, time and again, with no such thing as an ending”.