Friday, 21 March 2014

heigh ho heigh ho it's off to work we go

The Ferry is booked and the station-wagon is packed, yes off to work we go. And as you will have guessed, the play with those dwarfs is part of it.

Looking forward to the first show in Bluff on this tour through New Zealand from South to North. Over 200kg of stage gear, 12 Marionettes, a puppeteer, 2500 km round trip should cover the first leg of the tour. More on the way, certainly exited about it.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Marionette Gallery 8 - The dragon -

This is an addition to the previous post. Giving you some close-ups of the Dragon. With those leather scales, all individually cut and clued on, it took a while to create. The result is a very nimble marionette that can move, do 'handstands', flip the tail and other little moves. Sometimes I surprise myself I suppose.

Mustava and the Kauri Giant an original play

For the uninitiated overseas visitors, a Kauri is a massively big tree here in New Zealand. There are few left of a good size and they are protected.
This original play had the action around one of those trees that a ruthless woodcutter wanted to fell for profit.
Here is the whole cast, from left Peha-ane-tonga, Mustava, Grandfather, Dragon, Woodcutter, Patupaiarehe, Dwarf and the Kauri tree. You might wonder what a Dwarf and a Dragon have to do with the Kauri tree. Well my idea is that all the immigrants coming to this country did not only bring their suitcases and containers but some of the mythological creatures packed up as well and followed their humans to the new land. In this sense it was a multicultural as well as a multilingual show. The Dragon talked some Chinese, the Dwarf talked some German, the Peha-ane-tonga and the Patupaiarehe conversed in Maori and they all got along fine. Cut an hours story short the Peha-ane-tonga used his powers to give the tree the power to walk and I suppose the woodcutter learnt his lesson too. There was lots of action and a number of Marionette tricks. The ecological message was clear and the solo puppeteer was frantic to say the least.

                                                     The woodcutters wig could be lifted.

          The Peha-ane-tongas eyes came out in the process of making the tree walk and the tree...

opened his eyes could talk and walk away!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Jack and the Beanstalk

Dear Jack he is only 420mm and rather small compared to the 1050mm large Giant. It is the largest Marionette I ever build and with the possibility of his jaw dropping down low, a surprising figure. Jack for me has never been the happy guy. In the original tale they had to sell their only cow to try to survive. Tales like Oliver Twist come to mind. The story was first published in 1807 according to Wikipedia. Those were no fun times and the very poor struggled for a living. Mayhews book London labour and the London pour is a great read to illustrate those days. What moral do we have here? Jack stole from the rich and nasty Giant and made a fortune. We sympathise with him but should we? Great show to bring in moral and values as well as easily adaptable to our contemporary existence. Bank failure and interest rates, rich and poor, bailouts and excessive debt, the list could go on. And you might ask why is the giant so rich on the first place? 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Blast from the past

A lot of the theatre props and marionettes were stored at a friend’s dry and cosy garage. Now my dining room/ kitchen is filled with wooden boxes and large trunks from times gone past.  Sorting and discovering, oh man - time warp. I stumbled upon the first marionette I ever made. Being inspired by the Figurentheater Triangel that performed at a festival, I went home and experimented with material as a source for  marionettes. Well worth to google this Dutch Theatre for everyone interested in puppetry. They did extraordinary shows and were part of the International Festival here in Wellington many years ago.

This rather large nosed figure of mine dates back about 38 years, well before New Zealand became my home. It started as a marionette but later was turned into a rod puppet variation. It was so long ago now I do not remember how it talked, what dialect or tone of voice, maybe it was and is one of the few figures that escaped my flow of words? Two more figures from this time have survived a spider and a wheelchair bound person. A number might still be with friends from those days, as a memory before I immigrated. Certainly it is nice to see those three again. Though carving is a more interesting way to create puppets for me and I started this soon after these three saw the light of day.

You might like to go bach to the Blog entry Marionette Gallery 7 or Trick Marionette to see two of my latest creations during 2013.