What IS Object Theatre, Anyhow?

Object theatre has been around for 20 years, and it’s increasingly popular, especially among young performers who want to tell their own stories. I propose a range of approaches, any of which can produce brilliant theatre, with a natural bias toward comedy—but with a huge risk at one extreme.

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Les Sages Fous

Their work is wordless, rooted in the improvisations of street theatre. They are fascinated by the detritus of our society—the solitary souls who wander the streets, checking garbage bins for treasures in cast-off objects.

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The Théâtre de l’Oeil

Andre Laliberté is an imposing man, with a wide face and heavy glasses, a thick grey beard and tangled hair worn in a pony tail. He’s one of the giants of Quebec’s thriving puppetry scene. The Théâtre de l’Oeil, which he founded in 1973, is a cultural treasure.

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Freedom or Death

This six minute cabaret piece by Philippe Genty offers the ultimate version of one of puppetry’s deepest and most universal tropes: the puppet as existential prisoner of his strings.

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Felix Mirbt

Through his teaching and mentoring he inspired a new generation of Quebec artists; in particular, Francis Monty, Olivier Ducas and Marcelle Hudon pay tribute to his impact and his brilliance….

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Puppets are Dangerous

Peter and Elka Schumann are still active on their farm near Glover, in northern Vermont. They still receive interns every summer and create shows, which are performed both outdoors and in a converted barn, the “dirt floor theatre.” I visited them at the end of the summer in 2017.

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Mr. Punch goes to Spain

Whether you’re a performer looking for tips on working an audience; or a hand puppeteer who wants to see the unpretentious, casual precision of an up-and-down master; or if you’re merely a student of culture who is curious about the way the tropes and gags of a three hundred year old tradition get reinvented—or then again, if you just have three quarters of an hour to spare and you’d like to see something a little different….

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