The Return of Us
- Devised and directed by
- Tim Benjamin
- Music Director
- Ellie Slorach
- Kathy Kim, Andrew Kim & Sue Walpole
The Return of Us is a film and live event featuring giant puppets, a choir, and a contrabass clarinet - questioning whether our relationship with the natural world will change, once we come out of post-Covid isolation, to be released/launched in Autumn 2021.
Supported by funding from Arts Council England and supported by the British Film Institute
A girl plays in the field near the old wood with her friends. Their toy plane crashes into the trees, but they don't dare enter, and return home empty-handed. But one night during the dark days of 2020 the little girl has a dream about the Beast that lives in the forest... as it wonders, no longer hiding from human-kind in the silence of lockdown, what will happen when they come back?
“I want to capture on film a magical forest, incredibly lush and vibrant colours, which will contrast with the bright artificial colours worn by the young girl and provide a suitably enchanting backdrop for the Beast”
Tim Benjamin (writer and director)
Production stills by Craig Shaw Photography
The character of "The Beast" is a key figure in this production - inspired by the legends of Herne the Hunter and the Wild Hunt, along with more recent apparitions from fiction such as Tolkein's treants. The costume is built on a giant scale, designed to be worn by a stilt-walker yet agile enough to interact with other actors.
Starting with a "mood board" - a collection of images gathering together the production's visual inspiration - the costume was then built by Kathy Kim and Andrew Kim of Thingumajig Theatre.
Expert giant puppet makers Thingumajig Theatre created and performed the Beast - which is a combination of a large mask, antlers, and an elaborate costume to fit over a stilt walker. Kathy Kim made the costume and hand-dyed the fabric, while Andrew Kim made the head and hooves. During the film shoot, Andrew played the Beast on stilts, and was assisted by Kathy.
“The head is sculpted on a clay mould and will be formed with a heat-formed material. Meanwhile, fabric is hand dyed to an earthy palette”