Witness Relocation's work normally blurs and ignores the lines between dance and theater, and includes aspects of installation art, live video, task-based performance, timed activities, competitions and improvisation of all sorts (movement, dramatic, and philosophical). The source of this year's project is an enigma play by Japanese choreographer Mikuni Yanaihar about scientists who are tying to find the last bluebird. With industrialization having taken over nature and people having stopped looking at the sky, Japanese and American scientists in an Animal & Plant Science Research Center attempt to revive frail and extinct species of animals and insects. With good intentions come disasters, and a gordion knot of climatic repercussions and chemical side effects ensues.
The play was partly inspired by a 1980 Japanese Anime series by Hiroshi Sasagawa, Maeterlinck's Blue Bird: Tyltyl and Mytyl's Adventurous Journey, which was in turn is based on the famous 1908 play by Maurice Maeterlinck. "Now we are bringing it back into a Western culture," says Dan Safer, comparing the process to "a snake biting its own tail." He adds, "We will allow ourselves to be fascinated by what's foreign about it; colliding with the script."