A fool has set up his fairground booth. He catches images from out of the air, tells incredible stories and plays pranks on his audience. Anyone who steps through the door of his booth enters into a whole new world: a maze made up of thousands of lights. Visitors become travellers: suitcases, doubling as peep-holes, are waiting to be picked up and carried along. They encounter characters who are also searching for their way through the labyrinth: the prince who doesn’t want to be king; the bird woman who never gives up her dream of flying; the lamplight dreamer, who paints magical illuminated images from a foreign land, asking the visitors if they know how to get there… Eight figures tell us of their dreams, of their failings to get any further, and of their tiny islands of happiness: poetic games on the way to the centre.
The labyrinth is open for three hours. The scenes are played continuously in a loop throughout this time.
The Great Journey describes the human voyage through life. The maze, a kind of labyrinth, is one of the oldest symbols of this journey; people entering the labyrinth eventually arrive at the centre, at the heart, their own heart. The journey of life is reflected in the heroes’ journeys, forming the basis of many epics and classic Hollywood films; the hero sets out into the world hoping to survive his adventure. Purified and matured, he returns home in order to do good there. The story of Theseus and the Minotaur in the labyrinth at Knossos is an example of the link between the hero’s journey and the dramatic location of the labyrinth. Our production does not feature Minotaurs or heroic legends, but does offer visitors the chance to reflect on the Minotaurs in the labyrinths of their own lives. In an atmosphere created by thousands of candles, their thoughts soon turn into dreams filled with poetic imagery.
Do you want to find peace? Then simply breathe cautiously before a soft flame, that is calmly carrying out its task of providing light.
This advice comes from Gaston Bachelard’s The Flame of a Candle, a poetic, philosophical book on day-dreaming by candlelight. With his evocative language, Bachelard draws the ‘softly-lit reveries’ back into the human consciousness. Candlelit thoughts evaporate into daydreams; images flare up; the soul calms down. The images are from another world: images which overlap with the real, reminiscent of dreams, desires and stories believed lost, images of archaic power, many of which we know only from ancient myths. We have reached the sphere of reverie, which is foreign to us yet also very close.
Anyone entering Theater Anu’s labyrinths is immediately transported into a dreamlike state. It is almost impossible to evade the atmosphere of these enormous oceans of tiny lights. The visitors travel through these worlds like sleepwalkers, encountering figures who tell of their dreams and desires, but who – much like any dreaming person – are unable to live them out.
Bachelard described a poetic image as a direct connection between one soul and another, as an encounter between two beings who feel happiness though speaking to each other in a poetic visual language they both understand.
We, Theater Anu, hope that the poetic images – ours as well as the visitors’ who travel through our world of tiny lights – will enable exactly this communication, will initiate a game in which two people can find happiness: us, as actors, and you, as visitors. We have created a sphere of reverie in which we hope you will dream, during – and after – your night in the maze of candles.