UNIMA General Secretary, Jacques Trudeau has posted a message by the renowned theatre director, Robert Lepage, written especially for World Puppetry Day on 21 March 2010. Versatile in every form of theatre craft, Robert Lepage creates and directs original productions that shake the dogma of classical stage direction to its foundations, especially through his use of puppetry and new technologies.
“Like many people, I was profoundly affected by the earthquake which has recently devastated Haiti. Looking at the images constantly relayed on television and on the web I asked myself, among all the mediums of the performing arts, which would be the most effective for expressing the human dimension of such a cataclysm? Which medium would best evoke compassion without descending into mere pity, to inspire solidarity without being moralizing, and which would be best able to provoke in our own body an echo of the physical pain of the wounds and amputations?
In fact, I asked myself how one could transpose onto a stage not only the grief of the Haitian people, but equally their resilience which both moves and inspires us at the same time?
It seemed to me that the puppet would be the best medium to convey this tragedy. Its powerlessness, its vulnerability, but in equal measure the force of its purity and its innocence combine to create a link both intimate and unique with the spectator. Such solidarity probably arises from the major advantage it holds over the human theatre and the cinema: the actor plays a part, the puppet is always true.
In contrast to the actor, the cruelties done to the puppet are not feigned and when its strings are cut, when it is beaten, ridiculed, humiliated, ill-treated or dismembered, it never complains. It is repaired, re-pasted and once again it is on its feet, as good as new.
This truth endows the puppets with a magnificent power, since they seem at the same time to be capable of facing up to the outrages of destiny and to possess the courage needed to rebuild a world in ruins."
Robert Lepage, Quebec
To view some of Lepage's work, take a look here and discussions with him here!