It was four years ago that we first encountered Caroline Brothers’ novel Hinterland. We were in equal parts captivated, moved and traumatised by the story of Aryan and Kabir – two orphaned Afghan brothers escaping the Taliban and making their way on foot to the UK, repeating the mantra ‘Kabul, Tehran, Istanbul, Athens, Rome, Paris, London’.
At that time the plight of unaccompanied minors travelling across Europe seeking asylum still felt very ‘under the radar’.
As we journeyed with this adaptation, the plight of asylum seekers in Europe intensified with the civil war in Syria. Our ‘under the radar’ story became the prevailing headline. We began to wonder if there was any space left for Aryan and Kabir, or even an appetite for their story.
Why is a world in miniature so captivating?
The beauty of Caroline’s novel is that it does not predominantly sit in a political sphere. This is about the personal: two brothers bonded by an odyssey, an epic journey of ever-changing fortunes.
We knew that this was a story we needed to tell. It was just a question of how.
The creation of a theatre production told through miniature diorama; a one-to-one experience, where each audience member is completely immersed in a sumptuous audio and visual world, was a direct response to the need to find an intimate connection to Aryan and Kabir’s story.
And what is it about a world in miniature that is so captivating?
Is it the fragility? The artistry and care that is required to create detail at that scale? Is it the God-like perspective it affords us as we loom over a creation of such skill and intricacy?
Flight is an epic journey of ever-changing fortunes
The creation of Flight (the title is inspired by the musings on migrating birds in Hinterland‘s impacting prologue) has challenged us in every aspect: the sheer time and skill required to handcraft over 200 dioramas, the massive undertaking of designing, illustrating and digitally printing over 500 individually positioned characters, the intricate programming and systems required to run over 8000 cues across 25 individual shows running simultaneously, using binaural recording to create 3 dimensional sound worlds to place the audience right at the heart of the story.
Flight benefits from an extraordinary creative and production team. Over 40 Scottish artists and technicians have worked on this experience. Of course the audience should never feel the weight of that effort, but it is wonderful to have a moment to sit back and appreciate the cumulative talent and skill that makes something as unique as Flight come together.
Flight runs from 4 to 27 August (excluding 8,12,13, 16 and 22) at Church Hill Theatre & Studio.