Who’d heard of Woodwose before this time? Certainly not me, or many others and that was a tantalising magnet. On our Suffolk Church fonts, in front of plain sight, and we did not know.
The wild man of the woods, green man, appears in medieval Europe, usually covered with hair, naked and with a stick. Renaisance engravers in Germany and Italy were particularly fond of wild men, wild women, and wild families, depicted by Martin Schongauer and Durer. (Equivalent of the satyr or faun in Classican mythology and silvanus the Roman god of woodlands) .
Beginnings. A conversation with Becky in the Cut, the wood connection. I met Alys. Organised by Becky local schools of Halesworth and Holton finally came to the wood, while I had failed this past year in getting them up here. She bought with her a list of lost words, we found our very own woodwose in the form of Paul, they listened, they drew, and later that afternoon they took their words and images back and put them on a giant silk screen. These came to the woods for the weekend, hung in the trees they were magnificent.
The good tribe of Kinda Forest School helped to prepare the set, wheel-barrowing logs of Ash down to the ponds. Mell had the inspiration of getting the runner rug down, we pooled our ideas and created a theatre,
Bunting from Nicky, permission from the Holton Church to park below the church, Park here signs borrowed form Holton Village Hall, food from Clevely, mulled wine and apple juice, Rupert roasted some vegetables. Ron and his family came into the wood for the Saturday rehearsal. Yellow flags of Virgina roadside.
Zoe on tickets, Rupert and Michael on mulled red wine.
The natural stage of the two stretched coppiced hornbeam, was dramatic and effective. LIghts at their base shone up into their limbs. As Rupert said at the end, as opposed to the wild and sometime frightening Green man we get the benevolent woman woodwose, the protector of the woods. We got the environmental message. The wild was our friend. Angered by the chain saw man, the most greedy cutter down of trees (the others just cut what they needed), she challenged. Theirs became the age old, and classic merger of out of this world and of this world. (Spok was half Vulcan and half human). A birth, a death (It wasn’t the cough that carried her of, but the coffin they carried her off in) , an understanding.
From the very beginning, the wood and bird multi directional sound, the ‘music’, led by Sylvia, was the cornerstone of the theatre. From chain saw, to violin bow playing wood, to her complete creation out off sound of the Wiven., I was enthrawled by watching and listening to her creations. Harp, drum, clarinet, violin, wood, such diversity.
Over 70 came each night. Kinda Forest School tribe came – Molly with Emily, Jack and Ava, Kym and Levon, and Eloise. Sunday many local friends, (Serena, Virgina, Jenny, Ruth from the Park, Naomi, Gill, Peggy), weaving their way passed the children’s banners. On Saturday night we saw the full moon rise from the east. The woods owl responded to the call of the woodwose along with Saturday night motor bikers roaring down the Southwold road. Thea, the script writer, and her mother Andrea, came. We lit a fire on Sunday, and it’s smoke mingled with the lights, creating patterns on faces and smooth hornbeam bark, and gave us that classic wood scent. I heard the words the second night, their poetry and rhyme. What a little piece of woodland magic, taking us back, back into our story world, childhood of play, mystery and majesty of wood, it was for the woods and all who came.