Puppetry as an art form dates back to antiquity and spans the globe with its many forms and techniques. If your idea of a puppet show involves delighted children and something akin to Punch and Judy or the Muppet Show, then you are going to have to get up to speed and Stephen Mottram’s performance in this year’s mime festival is an excellent choice.
The Parachute is a light curtain puppet presentation (using light to highlight small areas of a performance area, allowing the puppet to be seen while the manipulators remain invisible) with white-tipped wands and ping pong balls. Despite the fact that we know what we are seeing are fluorescent balls and patterns of movement, our brains perceive human figures. It is truly remarkable, how such simple props can manipulate our perception, capture it and in the process tell us the story of life from birth to death.
Watch the Ball is a short piece showcasing puppetry. Mottram demonstrates how with a stick figure with a wooden head with detachable faces he can tell us a story. Never has our frustration with an instruction book been told with such minimalistic means.
Sebastian Castagna’s music pieces accompany both pieces with perfect synchrony and the overall performance is as masterful as it is entertaining. Allow yourselves an hour of sensory manipulation and you will not regret it.