In Geneva, an immersive show takes us to the heart of the forest –

Loredana von Allmen and Sarah Anthony’s latest creation takes audiences on a journey of listening to the sounds of forest dwellers. A walk in the park La Grange in Geneva which recalls the secret cabins of childhood and the importance of our connection to nature.

What if the forest could speak to us? This is the question posed by the show “Forêt (La Cabane)” programmed by the Théâtre de l’Orangerie at La Grange park in Geneva. This 35-minute immersive walk explores the forest in its different facets: the forest that shades us during the day, shelters us from the rain, protects us and then transforms at night.

The audience walks through the park’s forest in the company of two somewhat unusual characters: the lady Pan, and a two-legged bush who knows the way to a cabin full of secrets that houses a little human. Along the way, the bush introduces the various characters that inhabit the forest and are all interconnected. Children from five years old can take part in this fun and quirky ode to nature.

“We wanted to talk about forests, but to really do it in the forest, notes Loredana von Allmen, actress and director. Nature is so beautiful, so powerful. We wanted to be there and bring people there, for the story, to still have a connection to the forest before or after the show.”

Immersion through theater

This is not the first time that Loredana von Allmen and the Nuit Corail company have tried their hand at immersive open-air theatre. “We are going through a slight disturbance” took place, for example, in a reconstructed plane and airport. “I like entering a story, entering a world, says Loredana von Allmen. I discovered the street as a child in Neuchâtel, at the Buskers Festival, then I started at the Cour des Contes. how to tell stories in the street: if you’re in the right place and what you’re saying is important, there’s a crowd of people who come. If you’re a bit close, people leave.”

Some constraints are nevertheless necessary to play in the open air: the volume of the voice, the attention of the public which must be maintained and the instructions given to the spectators which must be very clear. “Each stage must be alive”, notes Loredana von Allmen. Not to mention some unexpected problems… like the bush that has a few leaves torn off by children!

Getting back in touch with nature

At the base of the project, the desire is to bring the spectators to strengthen their links with the forest, all the more so in this period of drought and deforestation. The director recalls in particular that the trees are not that still: “If we could observe them from the moment they start to grow until they die, we would see that their roots move very slowly. Of course, they can’t choose where to get water from, whether they have the resources or not, and that’s a pretty complex thing indeed…unlike the bush in our show, who has crazy freedom and takes advantage of it !”

The theme of the cabin is also important in this piece and more widely in tune with the times. “The pandemic, with its isolation, may have reinforced this need for refuge, a cocoon, and rediscovering childhood,” says Loredana von Allmen.

Interview by Pierre Philippe Cadert

Web adaptation: Charlotte Frossard

The show “Forêt (La Cabane)” by the company Nuit Corail is on view at 11 a.m. at La Grange park in Geneva until Sunday August 21. Children are welcome from the age of 5.

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