A walk with lanterns

Half an hour after the setting of the sun, the audience starts their hourlong walk through the darkness of the woods.

What awaits them there? Possibly a world which has remained hidden from human knowledge, but which still remains in their legends and stories? An age old, prehistoric time, like the one Jacob Grimm associated with fairytales? The visitors are split up into small groups and accompanied into the forest in a rhythm of 15 minutes. To light their way they are solely equipped with lanterns, which every spectator receives. Directly confronted with the atmosphere surrounding them, the darkness and silence, he then stumbles across a gate of light, which allows him to enter int the magical realm. Six stations he will then find dotted around the forest, there the spectator will find mythical beings drectly arisen from the collective memory of the people. A warrior warns the visitors of the slumbering giants and at a spring in the forest floor a woman summons up visions of the world to come.

It was time for us to preserve these fairytales as those who cherish and still know them have become less and less,

so the brothers Grimm write in their introduction to their collection of fairytales. If one listens to the stories they have to tell you can still hear the resonating whispers of a nearly lost world. In this world, woods were holy and farmers left a part of their crop to rot on the fields as thanks for the bounty they reaped. Jacob Grimm further explains in his book “German Mythology” (p. 149):

These customs show us the mild nature of the ancients. Man wishes to own and use all which has grown for him and ful of thanks he leaves some of his bounty for the gods…. The greed of man intensified after stopping his ritualistic sarifices.

The pre-christan, naturalistic ideas bound the human creed to the great knot of an organic world. That this bond with nature is of an existential type, is shown in the tale of the toad in the Grimms Saga. A girl feeds said toad and receives a crown as thanks. As the girls mother though beats the animal to death, the girl dies with it. This story often referred to as the “Urmärchen” the prototype of all fairytales, stands in a long row of different but similar stories, which more often are far older than the Grimms recitation. Wilhelm Mannhardt speaks of such a type as “forest and field- cults”. A story as example: A lumberjack cuts down a tree which he knows as being under the protection of a nymph. The nymph punishes him with an unsattable hunger. The man paralelly portrayed in Schattenwald takes the germanic name of “Wallah”- he who is enstranged from the world.

 

 

Terms and figures in germanic mythology

The two ravens Hugin (“thought”) and Munin (“rememberance) must fly over the world every day. I fear for Hugin as he may not return home, more though do i care for Munins plight.

The Edda, the song of Grimnir (Verse 20)

Yggdrasil – The ash tree, which as the tree of life encompasses the entire cosmos. The Norns – the creators of destiny, live beneath its roots at the “Urd – well” and spin the stories of man. They stear the movements of men and gods alike.

Ragnarök, the twilight for the gods; ragna – god; rök – origin, cause of origin. Ragnarök describes the end of all days and the creation of a new world.

First Giant Ymir, his flesh is the earth, his bone the rocks, his blood the oceans and his hair the forests, his brain the clouds and his skull the firmament, which is carried by four dwarves.

GRIMM

200 years ago the first version of Grimms “house and childs tales” were published. Theatre ANU offers in celebration of this important anniversary an extraordinary perfomance and sends its perspectors on a journey to their central point: the nightly forest. What is hidden there? A world which stys hidden hundreds, thousands of years from the sight of man, just suviving in humankinds lagends and myths? Can we experience a prehistoric time long before uslike Jacob Grimm makes us believe? But first of all: do these stories – 200 years after their publishment – still have a meaning for us? Follow theatre ANU deep into the dark woods….

 

Considering a multitude of annerversaries and underthe title of GRIMM 2013 a vast array of cultural events where initated to commemorate the life and work of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Their brother Ludwig – Emil also is thought of as a painter. The focus of the project is on 2013 even though the official start was in the year before 2012.

GRIMM.2013 is a cooperation between the federal state of Hessia, the “cultural summer northhessia e.V.”, the “home of Grimm northhessia” and the “road of german fairytales e.V.”.

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