Bambi is a story that I vividly remember as a child, it is a classic disney film and one where children of my generation first witnessed a traumatic death in a film. The death of Bambi’s mother was something that stayed with me and for a long time made me skip past it in the film to avoid watching it again. Now being older the reality of death and destruction is difficult to escape. It’s a prominent feature in the news everyday, with many terrible things happening all over the world. Perhaps one of the most harrowing currently is the conflict in Syria that has been a problem for the last few years. For me the link between the issues in Syria and the story of Bambi formed quite quickly. In both stories it is the innocent that are most affected, in Bambi it is the animals being killed by the human hunters or ‘he’ and in Syria it is innocent civilians being hurt by a mixture of Isis, the airstrikes and Assad’s regime. Whilst in the story of Bambi it is clear who the enemy is, In my adaptation of the play it will remain unclear to the audience who ‘he’ is. It will up to the audience to decide and ultimately act as a metaphor for all of the larger powers that are controlling the lives of good people.
Due to the depth concept that I want to create, I will be basing my adaptation for theatre on the original German story by Felix Salten which has a far darker feel to it. The play will be set in a refugee camp where Bambi is child of roughly ten or eleven and the different animals are various people around the camp of different nationalities. As part of the original story a young deer called Gobo is captured by the humans and fitted with a collar. In my version Gobo will be a small boy who gets taken and returned in a suicide vest before getting blown up in the middle of the play. The performance will not be easy to watch but I feel that it is necessary as we can’t ignore what is happening.
The main concept for the design process stems from Bambi being a children’s book, an idea that was easily relatable to the Syrian conflict. When watching and reading about all the latest news from Syria it is the images and stories about children that are the most harrowing and stay in people’s memory. They are also the ones that are most effected having grown up in a war zone witnessing countless horrors and often ending up with their homes crushed by the airstrikes. As a result of this I intend to use the idea of a children’s colouring/activity book as the basis for my textiles, keeping the colour palette very monochrome with splashes of bright vibrant colours where ‘children would have coloured in’.