Truly Madly PuppetryDocumentary | 2008 | Ovation
The World Puppetry Festival is held only once in the world, every four years. Just like the Olympics, cities bid for the right to host the event. This time it’s in Perth, Western Australia – and so begins ten days of chaos as 584 puppeteers and over 10 000 puppets descend on the most isolated town in the world.
At the centre of it all is madly devoted puppeteer, Philip Mitchell, the creative director of the festival. It was Philip who curated the program and he’s responsible for the creative success, or failure of the festival – as well as the technical reality of bringing so many shows to life.
We follow a one woman show with ten stages revolving around her body and a penchant for the dark side. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre build a theatre made entirely out of shoe boxes on the spot.
Cabaret Decadanse redefine sexy as the lithe Serge and Enock, bring their transvestites, raunchy dancers and cabaret singers to life in an unholy merging of the human dancing body and puppet creation.
Amidst the chaos, an attempt at establishing a new world record is on. The call has been put out world wide for puppets and the postal system can hardly handle the deluge pouring in through the door from all over the world. The race is on to get the greatest number of puppets all in the same place at the same time. Katherine McClean, Million Puppet Project Manager has more than her hands full.
Meanwhile, Woyzeck, South Africa’s most famous performance is resurrected in Perth. The show is directed by well known artist William Kentridge, whose charcoal drawings are an animated background for a raw and sometimes savage performance from his African troupe with their large wooden puppets.
Stephan from Belgium re-inacts Shakespeare’s Richard the Third, with the butchery taking place in the most literal sense. Stephan’s puppets are various cuts of beef, from steaks to roasts with kebabs and mince makers brought into devastating effect.
Audience members are right to feel nervous when they are handed a plastic apron as they take their seat. Australia’s Men of Steel are a fearsome trio, bringing anything to life with an alarming and ferocious dexterity. Cans of dog food become rabid destroyers with a hunting cos lettuce and a broccoli forest in the mix. Their motto – ‘the further we can throw it the better’. Hilarity follows in a whirlwind blaze of food and objects that’s never quite been done like this before.
And Australia’s most well loved puppeteer, Richard Bradshaw performs his famous Bradshaw’s Shadows with such divine simplicity it steals the show.
Truly Madly Puppetry – a one hour documentary giving an inside look at the adult puppet world and the boundaries it likes to push. Prepare yourself…