Vidmantas Kiaušas

"The Orange Girl". Photo of Milda Kiaušaitė

In brief: The 19th international puppet theatre festival “The Flying Festival” organised on the 25th-28th of May presented the great variety of themes and actors' mastery: performances of puppeteers from Latvia, Russia, Poland, the Ukraine, France, Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Israel, China and Lithuania were shown at Kaunas Puppet, Kaunas State Musical, Kaunas State Drama and Kaunas Chamber Theatres till late night.

"Juoba". Photo of organisers

Puppeteers, like many other contemporary artists, change quickly using video installations, cinema, various objects, dance; they find new possibilities of expression and sometimes make people used to classical puppet art shrug shoulders in the positive way. For instance, the performance “Juoba” according to the play of Alfred Jarry was intriguing and metaphorical, it was a perfectly beautiful sight, when things told a story as old as humanity.

The audiovisual story “Strangled and Shot” of Auksė Petrulienė and composer Tomas Dobrovolskis is an original and interesting visual solution when the artists stand in front of the audience and open the door to the creative workshop widely. The performance tells a scandalous story of 1930 by which the artists research the phenomenon of lust.

"Bastard!". Photo of organisers

The author was also impressed by the performance for grown-ups “Bastard” of the Brazilian artist creating in the Netherlands Dudo Paiva that closed the festival. The audience was charmed by the plastic of acting and dance of D.Paiva, the actor changed the voice masterfully expressing different moods of characters and controlled two huge foam rubber puppets at the same time. The artist communicated with puppets so sensitively, that their contact seemed very real and temperamental.

"Punch & Judy in Afghanistan“. Photo of organisers

Meanwhile, the performance of Stuffed Puppet Theatre from the Netherlands “Punch & Judy in Afghanistan” was harder to understand without knowing its content. The director tells about a puppeteer Nigel who goes to Afghanistan to amuse the allies' soldiers. The famous artist of Austrian origin is sincere to the bone on the stage; still, his polished acting charmed the audience more until the impulsive D.Paiva was seen on the stage.

"Ant the Loner". Photo of organisers

The little spectators of “The Flying Festival” were not left without performances too. Panevėžys Cart Puppet Theatre showed its performance “Ant the Loner” on the lawn at the Puppet Theatre. The non-pretentious, simple and sincere performance locked attention of the little viewers, and grown-ups could also experience the joy of a tale.

The travelling performance of Riga State Puppet Theatre “Sleeping Beauty” invited to a game. Guests from Riga communicated with the little and big ones playfully.

"Swallow". Photo of organisers

Meanwhile, Torune Puppet Theatre Baj Pomorski from Poland acted the play “Swallow”. It was a musical tale in which the communication and relations among characters were unusual: the Swallow and the Cat fell in love. The performance spoke about the diversity of the world, space and beauty of mutual relations and possibilities of the most unexpected communication.

"Gulliver – the Journey to Lilliput". Photo of organisers

The author was intrigued by the possibility to see the performance for children of Jerusalem Train Puppet Theatre from Israel “Gulliver – the Journey to Lilliput”. The actor Jack Shvili invited to the room of games, where the real world and the staged world became so close that one could become a giant or a dwarf.

"Candlelight-2". Photo of organisers

Meanwhile, the performance of the professional puppet and object theatre from Savne (France) of the French puppeteer Patric Conan “Candlelight-2” was an example of animated-glove puppets. The actors of the performance acted with great precision, each movement was well thought-of and professional. Moreover, it was a performance in which the persuasion of creators was more important than the oral comment.

The author also got acquainted with Quanzhou Marionette Theatre from China in the festival. The cycle of short stories “Ancient Art New Paths” was created according to Chinese folk tales and legends. The most important was the precise and graceful control of marionettes in the performance.

Finally, the author reviews the performance “Peer Gynt” of Kemerov District A. Gaidar Puppet Theatre from Russia. The wonderful music of Edvard Grieg was an inseparable part of the performance and seemed to raise seven actors to the world of visions and take them to the road of search for the ideal woman. Music, body language of actors, subtle communication with puppets, lyricism of lights turned the wordless performance into an action during which one feared to sigh louder.

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