Puppets have been with us for a very long time. Amusing us, sometimes scaring us or making us mad–and by “us”, we mean people of just about any age in any country. Small figures made of simple materials become actors in a play. This is theatre the way we all like it. We laugh, we cry. Applause applause.
The above 200-year-old puppet troupe, supporting cast to the beloved character Guignol, is from Lyon, France, found here.
But happily, puppets are as much a part of the present as they are a reminder of the past. Today, right now, puppet making and puppet theatre are as widely appealing and inventive as ever.
This is one (of dozens) of small figures imagined and made by Canadian artist Geoffrey Farmer for a show called The Surgeon and the Photographer. Each is made of cloth and paper cut out of magazines and books. Are they “puppets”? They are to us, and the room full of them was, by a long shot, the best thing we saw in an art gallery in 2015.
Above, Mr Farmer’s puppets on parade at the Barbicon in London in 2013. Happily, all these little people have been gathered in a book.
Whatever their actual age, puppets seem to belong to a time all their own. This lad, who is Italian and just waiting for the show to go on, is about 300 years ago.
This past August, many of the fine performances at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival featured puppets and puppetry of the highest and most hilarious order, the most absurd, unsettling, laugh-in-spite-of- yourself kind of stuff you’ll find in any theatre anywhere…
Like Bruce, a sponge puppet, with quite a story to tell. Created by Australian company The Last Great Hunt
And Foxy, one of the stars of Sing for your Life, a “Hideously hilarious taxidermy puppet cabaret”written by taxidermy performance artist (!) Charlie Tuesday Gates. Don’t look toooo close.
Puppet festivals thrive today in many cities–like Istanbul, below
Montreal Festival Casteliers Afternoon of a Foehn.
So we encourage you to get off your hands and head out to a puppet show near you or way over there in Istanbul. Near or far, the delight remains supreme. We love these little creatures, don’t we?
G. Farmer. Mlle Puppette. Enchantee. Merci.