Telling stories with imagination.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Metta likes...Puppets

I blogged a few weeks ago about Handspring's wonderful Or You Could Kiss Me - which features wonderful almost life-size wooden puppet men. But it seems like there's a lot of it about at the moment - puppetry that is. Last week I worked on some research and development for Aerial Choreographer/Director Layla Rosa's new show Beneath My Feet, which will be featuring puppets as well as circus. That was a great (as in large but also wonderful) challenge because the tempo of puppetry and the tempo of circus are somewhat at odds with one-another - you can't ask an aerialist to hang from a rope for 5 minutes, while it cuts into their skin and their arms turn to jelly, in order to give time for a puppet to slowly swim across the stage.

Also I'm just about to open a show at Theatre 503 called The Prophets and the Puppets (which I've directed as part of their Coalition Festival), which stars a marionette operated by one of this country's greatest puppeteers Ronnie Le Drew (most famous for his role as Zippy in Rainbow).
Again we have been challenged by the technical requirements that puppets demand - particularly with marionettes who can't move as quickly as people, or even as quickly as stick and rod style puppets because the manipulation of each string takes so much time (and skill).

And coming up in December is a one-man version of A Christmas Carol, adapted and performed by a brilliant actor called Dominic Gerrard - which will be just him, a violinist and a life-size puppet. Tim Carroll (who is a genius, literally) is directing - I can't wait to see what they do with it!

What other shows out there are using puppets? It feels like they've really entered the mainstream - particularly in adult-based work, as well as their more traditional use in children's theatre. Hooray for puppets we say - another great theatrical tool with which to tell stories - and puppets are the best actors ever because they're incapable of being self-conscious!So what else is going on out there with puppets and theatre, or puppets and circus or (always a Metta favourite) puppets and opera?

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