The Mechanical Bird in the Wooden Forest from the national tour of Hansel & Gretel. The footage was filmed at Ty Isaf by Pete Telfer. It was a last minute addition to that day’s shooting schedule, as I thought of it as a possibility for the production only when I passed the bird sitting on its shelf and looking at me.
On stage the film is screened at the moment that the children realise birds have pecked at the crumbs Hansel has laid as a trail to find the way home. The clockwork toy is Russian, made at the Lenin Memorial Factory in Moscow, and it sings loudly thanks to a bellows concealed inside the casing. It’s a clever thing and charming, if a tad shrill. On stage, however, its song is replaced courtesy of the Goldfield Ensemble playing Matthew Kaner’s hauntingly beautiful music.