In Little Otik a couple, desperate but unable to start a family, develop an intense relationship with a tree stump carved to look like a baby. Believing it to be real, gradually their obsession brings the stump of wood to life.
As the fixation grows, so does the ‘baby’ along with its monstrous appetite. Not content with baby food, it eats the family cat and then the postman. Things get stranger when the social worker arrives to see what’s going on…
Taken from the wonderfully twisted imagination of cult Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer, Little Otik combines dark humour, surreal horror and an unnerving but tender family story. Brought to the stage for the first time in a collaboration between Vanishing Point and the National Theatre of Scotland, Little Otik is a macabre and fantastical story about the lie of parenthood.
‘Matthew Lenton’s production, a collaboration with the National Theatre of Scotland, is visually ravishing. Kai Fischer’s set is a field of barren soil, waiting for the rain to usher in new life, while projections of sperm, foetuses and babies flicker across the back wall of the family’s flat. There is no such thing as the innocence of childhood for as long as the neighbourhood paedophile is at large. Extending Svankmajer’s surrealism, Lenton’s actors coax babies and cabbages from the ground and even find a real cat in a pram, while Christopher Shutt’s score keeps the show on an uneasy line between laughter and fear. As distinctive in its way as improbable’s Shockheaded Peter, Little Otik is a macabre delight.’★★★★ The Guardian
Production and promo stills
More photos of Vanishing Point here.