Saturday, 9 September 2017

Politics, Puppetry and BROTH M........ and what else?

Brotha M
Some might remember the character of Broth M. I did introduce him in one of my earlier blog entries. He and his brother Mustava (now in the Te Papa collection) have performed and delighted audiences through New Zealand and the world.

Recently I received an email from the Fringe Bar in Wellington. They wanted me to perform there. Part of a monthly Menagerie where various performers present a 10 minute act to an adult audience.

Invite to Puppetry in The Menagerie 30th of September
Hi Norbert,

That should be no problem I thought, lets do a sort of a variety act Broth M and friends. Take the little guy, with 30cm one of my small figures, add a few other characters and they rabble rouse a bit and have fun. Sing a song and do the entertainment thing, so I thought. The idea was well received by the organiser at first until a few days ago - when this email arrived.

​Evening Norbert,
I've had it pointed out to me by the Menagerie's owner that an white man puppeteering a brown character just a few weeks after the election might be read as more political than intended. Do you have other characters that you could perform for the Menagerie? Alternately, do you have any video footage of Brotha M in action I could refer to?

Do we give this more importances than we should? Is this even worth a blog entry? Is this a sign of the times? Is puppetry that powerful? Are we over interpreting? Is this to PC? Is all of this taken to seriously? Lots of questions and suddenly what was thought of light entertainment is earnest, important, serious and political.

Puppet exhibition in OREWA

Yes again the biannual puppet exhibition happened in Qrewa, the Hibiscus coast. A delightful gallery, communal space just north of Auckland. With a few staff and lots of volunteers they do an excellent job for the wider community. The whole area is growing due to the housing demand and Auckland house prices. The weather was great and I spend a few days up there giving talks on the history of puppetry, workshops and shows. It was very successful due to their great organisation.
The new extension they build a year ago was a great space for the shows and the workshops. With creative results they all achieved in one and a half hour. Looking forward to the next event in two years.
The marionette in a box that was created by the Waikato Museum for my exhibition was part of it as well. A really great interactive unit that  hopefully will participate in many more exhibitions.