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The Puppets take Jerusalem
ALISA UNGAR-SARGON
08/06/2009
The International Puppet Theater Festival will lead you to lands of fancy and imagination where no human can go alone.
Puppets from all over the world will be swept up from their chests, to grace theater stages for The International Puppet Theater Festival by Jerusalem's Train Theater between August 9 and 14. Whether hanging from strings or made out of string, puppets from Russia, Germany, Holland and Spain are coming to the Jerusalem Khan Theater, the Train Theater and The Lab (Hama'abada), mixing the right ingredients for entertainment, education and enlightenment. The acts featured in the festival include all of the traditional puppetry such as marionettes, mechanized wooden dolls, and life-size caricatural depictions. The genre inherently demands that puppeteers take a backseat to the demands of their immobile counterparts, and so the artists exercise their inventive juices to accommodate them. As such, many of the shows take advantage of the undefined field and use it to create groundbreaking new forms. From an Israeli Gulliver to a miniature world, the festival brings extraordinary creativity to the table. The international contingent in the festival includes a strong European representation, all of which falls under the umbrella name "Euro-Puppets." They hail from at least nine different countries to bring historical, ethnic, and aesthetic variety to the festival. The opening act of the festival is the Rigolo Swiss Nouveau Cirque with "Balance" a sculpture performance piece that studies cosmic equilibrium. Valeria Guglietti of Spain spins her stories in traditional shadow shows in "Don't Touch My Hands." Babok is a duo from the Netherlands that combines miniature settings, audio drama, and interactivity when their miniscule road trip battles the weather in "NAP." Israeli artists will also be supplying significant entertainment and originality. Hasimta Theatre's "The Dybbuk Between Two Worlds" is an eerie, haunted version of Romeo and Juliet involving an exorcism. The Israeli Puppet Center and Teatroni's "The Magic Box" present marionettes on a background of video, animation, and Indian culture to weave a story about fantastical journeys. The ultimate pride of the festival is, of course, those productions performed by the Train Theater itself. "Gulliver - The Journey to Lilliput" is a self-aware account of Jonathan Swift's character. Audiences are whisked away to this mythical land where small mechanical wooden dolls, operated and voiced by Gulliver, represent the Lilliputs. "Far Over the Sea" is one of the Train Theater's tributes to Tel Aviv-Yafo's centennial year. A play based on the children's poems of H.N. Bialik, it is a fanciful tale where the poems have disappeared from their book because no one remembers them. The audience follows a man and his bird companion on their journey to recover the poems, exploring Tel Aviv in the process. As a 28th 'birthday present' to its artists and audience, the Train Theater is publishing "The Heart of the Puppet: The New Art of Puppetry" by Marit Benisrael and Roni Mosenson Nelken, with illustrations by Batia Kolton. It will be launched at "The Fairies' Feast," as inspired by the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Twelve artists, paralleling the twelve chapters, will present the new book with their gifts, called "Plate Shows." While the festival is geared towards children and a family-friendly audience, there is much for adult consumption, too. The mechanics involved in many of the productions are a sight to behold, and are able to captivate audiences of all ages. The International Puppet Theater Festival runs from August 9-14 For more information, visit traintheater.co.il or call (02) 561-8514.
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