Other than in children’s parties or perhaps in a pre-schooler’s classroom, puppetry isn’t something we don’t see too much of these days. More often than not, these are very small and short presentations that do not exhibit how truly magical puppetry can be.
However, there’s a certain show in town—but only for a limited time—that can showcase the true luster of puppet theater.
Bunk Puppets’ “Sticks, Stones, Broken Bones” is unlike any other puppet show you’ve seen. This award-winning show from Australia combines shadow puppetry and physical theater, producing a series of truly entertaining skits with surreal larger than life elements and comical outcomes.
Puppeteer Tim Sneddon brings together pieces of junk to create shadow puppets in various situations, each equally or even more hilarious and fascinating as the previous one. Think flying ninjas, brain surgery, an unforgettable horse race and sneaky chickens, all in shadow form.
Instead of normal spoken dialogue, Sneddon makes use of gibberish –and with the aid of minimal sound effects— to highlight the supposed thoughts and emotions of his shadow characters. What’s amazing is that the audience just gets it, even when there is a loss for words, literally.
In an interview with InterAksyon, Sneddon, who was a clown for about a decade before he engaged in puppetry, shared why he chose to indulge in his current craft of choice and why it’s special for him.
“I think puppetry is really magical, which is a rare thing these days. In some ways it could be the show is a magic show; it’s misdirection of nowhere it’s gonna be till it’s [projected] on the screen and realized. It’s those moments that are really great.”
“And also, puppetry, you could relate to it. It’s human but it’s not; it’s like a cartoon but it’s real life. This beautiful tension in puppetry weighs our belief and you believe it’s a thing even though we all know it’s not. And you still surprise yourself. It’s a really beautiful form. You can defy gravity, defy scale,” he added.
Tour manager Kane Forbes spoke about the significance of puppetry in today’s technology-obsessed world.
“I think that part of the aesthetics are the found objects, things that are being discarded. I don’t want to get to be preachy about it but there’s too much of a sort of a throwaway society. A lot of kids that we meet, a lot of them values, and have at the moment; it’s the new iPhone, o the new video game. We still think that it’s a lot more fun if you use your own imagination to bring meaning to those kinds of things.
“We’re hoping that everyone, but young people in particular, might put down their iPhones for a couple of days after seeing the puppet show and just engage in some really good creative play.”
“Sticks, Stones, Broken Bones” runs at the PETA Theater Center from May 3 to 7. There will also be a series of puppetry workshops for children and adults. Tickets and workshop slots may be booked through www.ticketworld.com.ph or by texting 0917-8073069.