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BOOK REVIEWS
:
'The Dusseldorf Marionettes: Worlds of Fantasies and how they are created'. Anton Bachleitner.

This is a new book by the Artistic Director of one of Europe's leading permanent puppet theatres.
There are 144 pages which documents all 16 productions produced there since 1981. The complete text is in English as well as German and is accompanied by almost 300 superb colour photos plus other illustrations. The focus of the company's work is the string marionette, usually on 2m strings, although this is augmented with glove, rod, shadow, table-top figures, shadow puppets and masks. The company receives financial support from the city and province, and aims to produce work for adult audiences as well as for children. The staff (eight people including admin) present over 200 performances in the theatre each year as well as touring in Germany and Austria and occasionally overseas. They came to Reading, Berkshire a couple of years ago; other tours have taken them to Russia, Japan, and Indonesia. This beautiful book which covers all aspects of production from conception through design, creation, and performance looks to be indispensable for anyone interested to see how a contemporary marionette troupe works with this traditional medium.
Here are three attractive pocket book monographs produced by Editions de l'Ïil on companies from Cambodia, Laos and Mali. Each has 24 pages and many colour photos:
'Sovanna Phum' Stéphane Janin.
This tells the story of a day in the life of one of the puppeteers from Pnom Penh, Cambodia. Starting with the early morning purchase of a cow hide from the abattoir, it then looks at the treatment, carving and assembly of large shadow figures, and concludes with his part in the performance that evening. Available in either English or French editions.
'Ka Bong Lao'
Michel Laubu.
A study of the work of this theatre company, one of the first to be formed in Laos since the traditional puppet form died out. They use object theatre and this describes a typical performance and the reactions of native village audiences.Text in both English and French.
'Yaya Coulibaly' Lucille Bodson.
This puppeteer is at the crossroads of two worlds, the traditional types of masks and puppets used in rituals and those of contemporary forms, even marionettes on western looking controls. Text in French
'PollockÕs Packs A Punch' Horatio Blood &Barry Clarke
A 28-page exhibition booklet with several colour pictures and other illustrations. There is a little history by George Speaight, a Punch Alphabet, an article by Robert Styles who served an apprenticeship at Pollock's and did his first show outside the museum 22 years ago, and much more besides. This booklet can be purchased for £6.24 including postage from:
Ray DaSilva, 63 Kennedy Road, Bicester, Oxfordshire OX26 2BE
.
Tel/fax: 01869 245793
email dasilva@puppetbooks.co.uk.

 

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