|Woyzeck & Marie, photo: Nir Bareket|
Last night I went to see the finale of the show "Die Reise ou les visages
variables de Félix Mirbt"
by Théâtre de La Pire Espèce and Marcell Hudon.
It was happening in Montreal, but I hope this show will live on a bit longer and performed elsewhere.
For the credits, see this page, in French.
The show was complemented by an exhibition of puppets, masks, props and
photographs of the career of Felix Mirbt. I wish there had been more to see, but it was a beautiful exhibit. I even learned a few techniques by studying the puppets and masks.
I was inspired by both the exhibit and the show, fascinated almost against my will!
I'm grateful to have gone and experienced it.
Even though I did not know the artist, nor ever saw any of his whosws, this retrospective, created by people who were close to him, made me feel nostalgic and almost like I had met the man. I can definitely see some of his influence on what has been done in Canada since.
He is a defnite pice of puppet history.
Some lessons and techniques people have learned from him have been passed on to me over the years.
What spoke to me the most was his use of the materials and the methods as an integral and visible part of the experience of seeing the show performed.
a lot of people try to hide the process, to make the illusion work.
Mirbt was not hiding a thing: "I shall not forget to mention my tutor at my first (Tecklenburg) festival: Make your strings visible or people will be more concerned about
how you do it than look at your show."
Strings were very visible on marionettes, some other types of puppets were missing hands or the hands were only there when needed, some body parts came from separate props or body parts from the puppeteers. One puppet had a large mask for a head, while the body was a large piece of cloth, and the neck linking iot all together was a very visible ring of wood.
Mirbt had and still has a big influence on Puppetry being done nowadays in
Quebec and Canada. The man loved experimenting on every asopect from puppetmaking to how thw show was constructed, to how the music played a role, and it showed in his results. Refreshing and thought provoking.
For those curious to learn a little bit about his life and work, a website
has been created. They mixed English and French texts, on the same pages.
Beware that a loud sound file will start once the page is loaded.