- mm- No strings attached
Puppet theatre has long suffered a low, or no status problem in the UK, but Donald Smith. director of the first European Season of Mask and Puppet Theatre has plans to elevate it from the back row of the stalls to centre-stage. Neil Cooper heard all about it.
The thing about puppets is. well. they're for kids aren't they'.’ Punch 'n' Judy at the beach. Pip/tins on the box. Spotty Dog and l’og/es Wood. 'l'huru/erbin/s and Fireball X15. l’innot'hio. for goodness sake. Kids stuff. the lot of them. Aren‘t they? Well. it‘s certainly not the case in liurope. where puppetry has been a highly respected and decidedly grown- up an form for centuries. Here in the UK though. the arts scene has typically dragged its heels when it comes to putting it on a par with other mediums. The ‘('iiulerella of the Scottish Arts' according to Donald Smith. director of ‘Theatre of Story. Theatre of Dreams'.
a large scale festival of mask and puppet theatre which introduces the best European exponents of the genre to Scotland. alongside homegrown fare. ‘I can't really explain why puppetry's
just been seen in the UK as children‘s
entertainment.‘ says Smith. ‘Though what it does reflect is how puppet theatre tends to tell you something quite broad-based about its country of origin's theatrical culture. so it's quite an interesting litmus test for what else is going on.‘
Thankfully. things have changed in this country quite dramatically over the last ten years. Indeed. the annual Scottish Puppet and Animation Festival has existed for twelve. and there are now seven or eight professional Scots companies as well as a smattering of solo puppeteers.
‘There's been a general trend of
. .4 Theatre Omnibus: mask force people becoming more interested in the visual dimension of theatre. Puppet theatre‘s certainly had a low status perception. but in terms of its audience base its community reach is huge. it nas the capacity to touch the collective. symbolic aspects of human experience in a non-realistic. individualistic kind of way. It either re-interprets key myths and folk tales. like Cinderella and Ulysses. or else it seeks to shape and create new myths for contemporary times that express something about now. So as well as being accessible. it's also a very challenging art form that has something for all ages. and for the whole gamut of the theatre going public.‘
I heatre of Story: Theatre of Dreams. European Season of Mask and Puppet Theatre. 14—28 Oct.
The first European Season of Mask and Puppet Theatre, ‘Theatre of Story, Theatre of Oreams’, runs from Sat 14 Oct-Sat 28 Oct in venues across Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Tickets from individual venues or city box offices (see listings for details). For events in Aberdeen call the city box office: (01224) 641122. Glasgow and Edinburgh events are listed by city, and then by venue. For information on conferences and workshops call Puppet and Animation Festival Association: Oi 31 556 2467. For disabled access key see theatre section. Puppet and mask theatre listings compiled by Ellie Cart.
I CUTTIER THEATRE 935 Hyndland Street. 357 3868. Ticketlink: 227 551.
On Broken Wings Fri 20 Oct. 7.30pm. £4 (£2.50). Older children/adults. lrish company. Theatre Omnibus with Dermot Healy‘s tale ofemigration and return to rural Ireland. using an incredible range of up to 46 realistic and surreal masks to reﬂect the passage through time and place.
Unlucky Wally Sun 21 Oct. 8pm. £5 (£3.50). Recommended for adults. Ace- cartoonist Raymond Briggs's tale of the ultimate wally. Unlucky Wally. brought to life in this unique puppet show for adults.
by lreland‘s Theatre Omnibus.
Ulysses Sun 22 Oct. 7.30pm. £4 (£2.50). Ages 6 plus. Ulysses. mythological hero and intrepid traveller. seen through the eyes ofquirky marionette sophisticates. Bambalina Titelles from Spain.
Don Ouixote Mon 23—Tue 24 ()ct. 8pm. £5 (£3.50). Recommended for adults. More from Spanish company Bambalina Titelles. with their marionette spin on opera classic Don Quixote.
Odd it you Dare Fri 27—Sat 28 Oct. 8pm. £6 (£4). UK company 000 Cot's multi- media extravangza. splicing music. puppetry. shadows (yes shadows!) and computer-generated imagery together to
conjure upa tale of two female drop-outs
whose lives collide in a seedy cabaret iornt.
I MITCHELL THEATRE Granville Street. 227 5033.Ticket1ink 227 5511. [Access: PPA. 1-. ST. R. Facilities: WC. WS. H. G. C. Help: A. AA]
The Rat Catcher Mon l6—Tue 17 Oct. 2.30pm; Tue 17 Oct. 11am. £2.75 (£1.50). Ages 3-7. Ever been in a puppet show? Well now‘s your chance. Booths are out in ltaly. ‘Castillos‘ — castles to you and i — are in. So step inside Teatro delle Briciole's castillo and into the magic kingdom of the Hamelin and get the inside story of The Rat Catcher. Thumbellna Wed 18 Oct. 1 lam; 2.30pm. £2.75 (£1.50). Ages 6 plus. Playing for
Scotland in this nine-nation festival. HPC Puppet Theatre with their suitably miniature version of Thumhelina. the tiny wee lass who popped out of a ﬂower. Cinderella Thurs 19 Oct—Sat 21 Oct. 2.30pm; Fri 20—Sat 2| Oct. 1 1am. £2.75 (£1.50). Ages 5-plus/fami1ies. The fairy- tale classic of the girl. the glass slipper. the pumpkin and the prince. set in period costume in a Bucharest opera house. and told with the aid of a vast team of puppeteers from Romanian company. Teatrul Tanderica.
The Rainbow Show: An Odyssey in Colours Thurs l9—Fri 20 Oct. 1 lam. £2.75 (£1.50). Ages 11/2—5. Moir Hall. One for the tiny tots from Teatret ManegOgl in Denmark. When Skid Pyt and her puppet (also called Pyt!) look at the rainbow they realise its not the full monty. They jump into an air balloon to recover the missing colours. and en route meet a kissing octopus. a golden bull and some friendly
I SCOTTISH MASK AHU PUPPET CEIITRE 8—10 Balcarres Avenue. 339 6185. Ticketline: 227 551 1.
Alexander the Great Mon 16-Fn‘ 20 Oct. 2.30pm. £3 (£2). Ages 6 plus/adults. Shadow theatre is big business in Greece. Sample the best. from Eugenics Spatharis of Karagiozis Shadow Theatre. with this popular folk tale of the handsome noble
cavalier Alexander. Morfonios (who is ugly but thinks he’s handsome) and the sweet. but slimy Haidjiavatis.
I CHURCH HILL THEATRE Morningside Road. 228 1155. Ticketline: 220 43-19 (also available Usher Hall and King's Theatre).
Cinderella Mon l6--Wed 18 Oct. 2.30pm; Tue 17 Oct. 7.30pm. £3 (£2). Ages 5- plus/families. See Glasgow. Mitchell Theatre.
The Rat Catcher Thurs l9-~Sat 21 Oct. 2.30pm. £3 (£20. Ages 3—7. See Glasgow. Mitchell Theatre.
I HETHERBOW ARTS CENTRE 43 High Street. 556 9579. Ticketline: 220 43-19. [Access: ST. R. 1.. Facilities: WC. WS. H. G. C. Help: A. AA]
Don’t be Afraid of the Dark Tue l7»-l‘ri 20 Oct. 2.30pm; Wed 18 Oct. 7pm. Ages 6— plus/families. Tobias has a toy named Cuddle who keeps him company in his kip. btit one strange night Cuddle falls out of bed and walks off on his own two feet! Weird and wonderful events follow as Cuddle leads Tobias into a strange new world that lies at the bottom of his bed. Big. fantastical puppets from Stiching Theater Gnaffel of the Netherlands. Alexander the Great Sat 21 Oct. 2.30pm. £3 (£2). Ages 6-plus/families. See Glasgow. Scottish Mask and Puppet Theatre.
Ulysses Sun 21 ()ct. 7.30pm. £4 (£2.50). Ages 6-plus/families. See Glasgow. Cottier Theatre.
Don Ouixote Wed 25—Sat 28 Oct (double- bill with fat (Ia/re et Je General). 7.30pm. £5 (£3.50). Recommended for adults. See Glasgow. Cottier Theatre. J’ai Géné et .le Génerai \Vcd 25—Sat 28 Oct (double-bill with Don Quixote. 7.30pm. £5 (£3.50). Recommended for adults. Experimental French ‘puppet' theatre company. Le Theatre du Fast with a striking adaptation of absurdist Russian poet/philosopher. Daniil Harms short novel The Triumph ofMyr/iine using huge wooden puppets. bold visualisation and technical virtuosity. See panel.
I THEATRE WORKSHOP 34 Hamilton Place. 226 5425. Ticketline: 220 4349. [Access: PPA. ST. R. Facilities: WC. WS. H. G. C. Help: AA]
Thumbellna Thurs l9—Sat 21 Oct. 2pm; Sat 21 Oct. 7pm. £5 (£3). Ages 6- plus/families. See Glasgow. Mitchell Theatre.
The List 6-19 Oct 1995 73