Monday, 30 June 2014

puppet collection 2 Austria and Germany

Just a few more examples of the diversity of puppet. Collecting them might come with the profession. Here is one example of Dubeloski-Gellhorns puppets.The Figure is 100mm tall and the control underneath is another 100mm. I saw him perform many years ago in Austria. A very small table top stage and for a maximum audience of about 30. The underneath controll is very intriguing. Richard Teschner another Austrian puppeteer used a similar technique. Check him out too.
This idea of manipulation is used at a number of place around the world and worthwhile exploring.

Yes of course here is Kasper. The most traditional of traditional German hand puppets. My father told me stories of him visiting kasper performances in the 30s and it was very much like Punch and Judy. Though he changed dramatic over the years and is very much the helpful young man these days. The figure is 600mm tall. 
Marionette traditions in Europe go back a long time, well the oldest in my collection is this saxonian marionette from the 18 hundreds. There are books on how these companies toured with horse cards well into Russia and were on the road for years. This figure is 900mm tall.

Monday, 23 June 2014

stages for marionette shows

The stages for shows are certainly as diverse as puppeteers. The photo shows me on the standard set up I have touring small venues in New Zealand. The stage is 1200mm high to give good views for a mixed audience of up to 250.
The next two photos show the stage front and side view, set up at Island Bay school in Wellington. It takes me about 45 minutes for setting it up and 30 minutes to put it all together again to leave. Of course when the show starts the lights are on, focused on the stage and rest is in semi darkness.


There are other possibilities too like the improvised African version with tables and school benches
or the seriously more complex one for Titanic. At the end you have to be creative and adaptable and give the audience a great enjoyable time they can remember and talk about for years to come.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

puppet collection 1 traditional New Zealand Maori puppet

Suppose that is part of the interest and work with the marionettes, you collect the ones from around the world. Most people will have seen the shadow puppets from Indonesia that are a standard tourist take away. Let me show you one closer to home.
Here is a Karetao, beautifully carved by Riki Manuel for my production 'YES'. You might like to look at the other websites too

The figure is 460 mm tall. The photo does not show the lower extension where you hold on to it. By moving the hand piece and relaxing and tightening the string holding the arms you get a lot of movement. Put this into an environment with a natural light source like a small fire in a whare, they must have had an amazing powerful impact. Very few old ones are in collections in New Zealand and overseas.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Marionette Gallery 10 - the doctor saved the horse

The last blog entry told you about the terrible accident the horse had. Loosing a leg is no easy matter for a horse. Shooting it was one option, though the brilliant surgical skills of our resident marionette doctor, Norbert Hausberg, saved the animal and like you see in the image, it is healed and fully functional in a day. That is close to a miracle.
This is one of my oldest marionettes still on active duty. It did remarkably well with all the touring in New Zealand and around the globe. Certainly you might argue about the likeliness to the real thing, but that is not what it is about. When it strides out for the first time it creates laughter each time. With another Marionette on its back, like Brotha M, it makes the audience question how it is done. Why don't the strings tangle with the other Marionette jumping on and off?  Just those little tricks of the trade!

And to make sure it is not photo shopped, the horse in full flight, ready for the next show. Hopefully near you! Cheers and stay tuned

Saturday, 7 June 2014

On the road in Hawkes Bay and accidents do happen

The week in Napier and surrounds was very successful with many highlight and funny stories do happen too. During Rumpelstiltskin at the Century Theatre in Napier, Brotha M left the forest on his horse and one hind leg fell off. I looked over the backdrop, picked up the leg and ask 'is there a doctor in the audience'. Everybody started to laugh and yes you have to make the most out of the situation. It was a marionette I did make in Germany before I immigrated to New Zealand all this years ago. I suppose the Horse did quite well functioning without fail all those years.
Snow White in the afternoon, with a lovely family of voluntary dwarfs, was nearly sold out just fantastic!

The marionette making workshop at the Museums Education rooms was a lot of fun too. All the participants created a three string marionette and some showed them at the performance in the afternoon.

Here the group photo in the Museums foyer.

Until July we will be working in the greater Wellington area, no more Hotels, Motels and friends couches for a while. In July you might like to catch up with us in the Waikato! Looking forward to it.