Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bin Laden opens in Calgary as an international 'animated object'

Punch Bin Laden from the puppet performance Punch and Judy in Afghanistan at the 2011 International Festival of Animated Objects.
One of Neville Tranter's central characters in "Punch and Judy in Afghanistan"

What kind of security detail would Punch and Judy and their soft puppeteer Neville Tranter require satirizing Bin Laden on stage in Kabul?

“Punch and Judy in Afghanistan” joins Monkey Business by Swedish puppet workshop, Dockteaterverkstan, taking center stage at Calgary’s International Festival of Animated Objects, opening today (9 March) and continuing through 13 March in Inglewood.

Pause and please take a look at this from Punch & Judy in Afghanistan: Get a feel for the fun.

The festival, packed with workshops and performances, heralds centuries-old traditions of hand and stick puppets.

The art of masking also shares the spotlight, bringing together mask artists from around the world, creating visual fusion as technology brings cultures closer together, according to the festival's curator, Xstine Cook, who calls herself, "puppetflogger."

Curator of the festival, Xstine Cook
Others featured include: Grim and Fisher by Portland, Oregon-based mask makers, Wonderheads; Circo de Nada and writer Ronnie Burkett.

Australian-born Tranter has lived most his life in Holland where he works as Stuffed Puppet.

His puppets are made there; and I believe a Dutch journalist friend writes much of the Punch and Judy dialogue.

Critics often regard Tranter as the foremost Punch and Judy soft puppeteer in Europe, returning to the simple hilarity of a puppet booth.

But taking Punch and Judy on a wild goose chase as 007’s in Afghanistan (the story line) is more than mere parody.

It’s the first time Tranter crossed over into current politics.

There was a deeper motive than mere entertainment.

Tranter told the Montreal Mirror in a Q & A interview:

“If there’s any criticism in my Punch and Judy show, it’s about naivety—going into a country that is a totally different culture and thinking, ‘We are going to solve the problems.’

“We have no idea how people live in Afghanistan and yet we’re there fighting. It’s very satirical and very funny but it’s also touching and it makes you think.”

That reminds me of, “Oh, What a Wonderful War,” which I saw for 50p-- standing room only--many years ago at the Old Vic in London.

Makes you think, all right.

Makes you laugh and weep inside at the same time.

Other Tranter shows include: Frankenstein and Alias Adolf Hitler.

Rock on and practice peace and love.

"When the power of love overcomes the lover of power, the world will know peace." Jimmy Hendrix.

Stefan, the ArtTraveler(TM).

ArtTraveler video: "Jet streaming through Charlotte (North Carolina) on a Sunday afternoon," some new fashioned, slice-of-life Americana

If you're thinking about a walking holiday in our Andalusian mountains or a week-long workshop in sculpture or mosaics, please check out: and

No comments:

Post a Comment