This year I have begun the process of studying for a Masters Degree in Theatre Performance – my enquiry is titled ‘Transgressive Infants, precarious subjects – playing the anthropomorphic instinct in adult puppet theatre‘.This blog will be an attempt in some way to share my thoughts, reflections and process, provoke a wider conversation and invite the insights, opinions and experiences of others.
I have arrived at Puppetry after many years performing as a singer in experimental music-based theatre, as a visual artist fascinated by the human form and writer. Puppetry seems like the logical place of convergence for all these creative expressions.
Puppetry is not simple – in beginning the process of research and writing on the psychological, cultural and dramatic meanings of puppetry I have found myself in strange and beguiling territory. Definitions slip just out of reach, meanings are multiple and the line between what is animate and what is inanimate seems at times, disquieting permeable. American academic Kenneth Gross in his wonderful essay ‘The Madness of Puppets‘ says;
‘Puppet theatre is a highly refined art, but depends on something like a child’s, a clown’s, or a mad person’s relation to objects…They are dead things that belong to a different kind of life.”
I make puppets because I am compelled by their ability to express the sublime and the grotesque. Puppetry can say the unsayable, explore unexpected places of beauty and disquiet. It is a precarious medium that invites risk and absurdity in equal parts.
Puppetry is visual poetry, a quiet song in the dark.