On the stage is a beautifully carved facsimile of Swedish kitchen seat, which at night becomes a bed. A bed that creaks and groans and becomes a place of nightmares. Nightmares that grab Morton every time he closes his eyes. It is the Mara that is sitting on his chest invading his sleeping world and making his life a misery. The Mara that is a character of Swedish folklore, particularly the old-growth forests, which surround the village, where the characters in Dominic’s tale live. The question is, who in this tightly-knit community is responsible for this Mara figure that is plaguing Morton’s life and does the person even know it is them?
Dominic uses the device of a whodunnit to lure us into this world and lure me, he certainly did. Unfolding a world of change where the forests that define the community are ruthlessly being felled for the profits of big firms, distant from the characters’ lives. But the Mara is still there invisibly intertwining the two worlds and finally causing a timely death for a heartless man, freeing Morton from his nightmares.
It is a story of the ancient and modern, of community and competing world views, of the wild and its exploitation.
I was thoroughly entranced by this finely wrought tale. Making me wonder, how much the old stories can offer a buffer to the ruthless exploits of modern man on this green and beautiful earth.