The Mask Maker and The Tree
Performance / Workshop / Video
*Cooperation between TAAK, Stichting NDSM-Werf and Over het IJ Festival
The Mask Maker and the Tree is an adaptation of an old folk tale. Every year the villagers go to the forest to fall a beautiful tree, which they make happy masks out of. They have to walk a long way because they have already cut down the forest near the village. One day, however, a chosen tree refuses to be felled. Finally, the villagers are allowed to fell the old tree under one condition: they must wear the cheerful masks made from the tree forever. Since no more masks are needed, no more trees have to be felled. The Mask Maker makes the happiest masks he had ever made and nailed them permanently on the villagers' faces, and from that day on, no more trees were ever chopped down, and all the villagers were happy, at least on the outside.
The tale was told during a free 3-day workshop at the NDSM-Werf, together with a highly diverse group of people. Preis asked the participants -the residents of (North) Amsterdam- to play the villagers as if they were zombies, seeking to highlight the systematic way we function within society and our alienation from nature: we are what we eat and how we see our environment.