Socking it to audiences

This year's Puppet Theater and Film Festival offers inventive twists on familiar tales, along with new productions for the whole family.

puppets 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
puppets 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A tough, trench-coated detective investigates a mysterious disappearance and an alluring femme fetale in a city on a wartime footing. The Lady from Sockholm unspools familiar plot threads from film noir, only the 70-minute feature is entirely populated by sock puppets. The Lady from Sockholm is one of the films featuring in this year's International Puppet Theater and Film Festival - a four-day treat of overseas and local performances, workshops and exhibitions that are all about puppets. The festival, hosted by the Holon Center for Puppet Theater, is now in its 12th year, and, according the center's director Ilan Savir, "provides the opportunity for local puppeteers to extend their knowledge of the form beyond their imagination." It also shows the public that puppets aren't restricted to living on Sesame Street. From the stage, Gone with the Feet will move its audience in a unique performance by Italian Laura Kibel; she creates funny figures born from different and usually unused parts of her body. Unlike other puppets, Kibel's characters are made of flesh and bones who love, weep and live through stories full of fun, music and poetry. Kibel, a renowned theater-maker in the art named "theater of legs," will also be holding master classes during the festival. In Shmuel Shohat's play The Dybbuk, the tension between actor and puppet, the manipulator and the manipulated, throws new light on Yiddish folklore. Inspired by the animated puppets of Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride, this fringe production breathes fresh air into the familiar play. Along with the 30 performances by resident and international artists, other superstars are also on show. After last year's hugely successful Israeli run of Avenue Q, the puppet stars of the Broadway musical are part of an exhibition exclusive to the festival. Everyone can now have the chance to get close to the hilarious Trekkie Monster and Co., as well as seeing the production process of this award-winning puppet musical. Throughout the festival, the center's museum is open free to the public and it will hold outdoor puppet shows and screenings in its garden. Fun and educational workshops and performances are also being held for children during their summer break. The Center for Puppet Theater, Rehov Remez 13, Holon. July 22-25. Tickets for the plays cost NIS 25-NIS 70 and movies cost NIS 20. Tickets: (03) 502-1555.