8 August 2011
Alma Mater **** (four stars)
It may last less than 20 minutes, but Fish and Game‘s filmic journey about childhood and learning, mothers and memory, is a bittersweet fairytale that will haunt you for days if you dare to venture into the woods. Or, rather, venture into the white wooden box where you experience this show one person at a time. You don headphones and are given an iPad, and then step into the box, where you find yourself alone in a child’s bedroom. At least you think you are alone, but then, via the iPad, you are joined by a small red-headed girl with dancing eyes.
What follows is an encounter that is disconcertingly intimate and which offers a child’s eye view of childhood that is both nourishing and sometimes creepy, featuring dough mothers, lost birds and encounters in the woods. At times it is innocent, and at others like The Turn of the Screw. You are never quite sure whether you’ve seen what you think you’ve seen. Are those drops of blood at the bottom of the canary’s cage?
It always operates within a double perspective that makes it feel like an out-of-body experience. You are in the room and yet also displaced from it, and it is the gap between the view of the room delivered via the iPad and your own experience of the space that lends the piece its disturbing tension. Who is this child who leads you such a merry dance? A ghost? A memory? Perhaps even your lost self? Spine-tingling.