Several nationalities have come together to build a narrative based on folklore creatures from the participants' individual countries. The result of their collective research provides insight into the culturally ingrained primal fear that we all carry from ancient times.
The various nationalities have joined forces, each contributing to the creation of a story based on folklore creatures from their own individual homelands. The outcome of the collaborative research, combined with the collection of folklore stories from the employees' diverse multinational backgrounds, offers a profound understanding of the human psyche across borders.
Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium (NTL) has chosen to use this to create a performance about folk beliefs from a multicultural perspective. The research for "Winter Creatures" started as a tool to build a narrative but ended up evolving into a budding new working method, providing the production team with a deeper insight into the collective understanding of darkness, cold, and the unknown.
Witch Baba Yaga, Frost's ruler Morozko, and the giant cat Jólakötturinn are all examples of frightening folklore creatures representing stories from different countries. However, the team at the laboratory has not only collected gruesome figures; in Greenland, it was the Angakkoq's task to appease the spirits so that the good balance of life could return. And Saint Lucia is not necessarily inherently malicious, even though she experienced malice from humanity.
According to project leader Christian Søgaard Hersker, there is a better understanding of superstition when hearing about it from people who grew up with it: "I am surprised by the effect on all of us that arises from incorporating folklore from so many different countries. The traditions passed down to the directors (Kai Bredholt and Donald Kitt) have been extremely vivid because they come from people who grew up with the stories. We haven't googled our way to the fear one feels as a child when hearing about the witch Baba Yaga; we have received living accounts from beating human hearts - from those who have experienced the horrors as children," explains the project leader.
The method of including innovative empirical data from a multicultural perspective is a concept that NTL aims to further develop. The foundations have been laid for new theoretical approaches, and the performance "Winter Creatures" is, in many ways, a prototype that we can be proud of.