The feral human

La Loba by Czech theatre company Lenka Vagnerova & Company.
La Loba by Czech theatre company Lenka Vagnerova & Company. PHOTO: VIKTOR KRONBAUER

Featured in: La Loba by Lenka Vagnerova & Company, Hyena Subpoena by Cat Kidd

What to expect: To confront society's marginalisation of the weak and disregard for animals, the two productions explore the primal, even savage, side of humans.

La Loba, which translates to Wolf Woman in Spanish, is a show put on by Czech dance theatre company Lenka Vagnerova & Company, named after its artistic director.

In it, a woman wanders through the countryside collecting bones and attempting to breathe life into them.

  • BOOK IT / LA LOBA

  • WHERE: Esplanade Theatre Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive


    WHEN: Jan 22 and 23, 8pm


    ADMISSION: $22


    INFO: Go to lenka-vagnerova.cz/en/

  • HYENA SUBPOENA

  • WHERE: Gallery Theatre, Basement, National Museum of Singapore


    WHEN: Jan 20 and 21, 8pm


    ADMISSION: $22


    INFO: Go to www.catkidd.com

The mythic figure of Mother Nature was part of the inspiration for this story, says Vagnerova, 37, in an e-mail interview. "She is constantly producing new lives, recycling dead creatures, recycling bones and stories underground."

To make the production more visceral, she is using bones from animals killed in hunting and car accidents.

She sees the act as a ritualistic revival: "We are bringing them back to life during every performance.

"Bones are the basic structural element of each body. They are bearers of DNA... La Loba is about animal rights and animal lives. It's about hope and respect for other creatures, respect for life."

Hyena Subpoena by Canadian performer Cat Kidd is also set in the wild. She narrates the production as protagonist Mona Morse, an adolescent who flees a traumatic past to live in South Africa's Kruger Park.

Augmenting her performance poetry with live sound and video, she will find metaphors for human behaviour in the lives of other creatures, such as pack mentality and predator-prey dynamics.

A highlight is the poem Lion Queen, inspired by haunting footage of a lioness dying by the roadside.

"Here, the tables are turned, as a top predator is being eaten by an illness. It got me thinking about cycles of predation, the powerful and vulnerable in society," she says.

She also likens the stigma of mental illness in modern society to characteristics often attributed to the hyena.

"I believe we're not so separate from nature as we've conventionally maintained. There are millions of years of wisdom in the survival of earthly flora and fauna. That should feel more humbling to humans."


Lee Jian Xuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2015, with the headline 'The feral human'. Print Edition | Subscribe