Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Craig and puppets and stripping gorillas

I'm not that interested in a cull of actors, or emotions, in theatre: Craig only recognises the passionate qualities of the human, and forgets about the ability to, like, contemplate... or that emotion can communicate, too. But his idea that there used to be this amazing marionette somewhere in India, and some women ripped off its routine, and invented theatre as a commercial proposition, does offer something intriguing.

There is something special about a puppet or a doll. I always compare it to that time Johnny Woo did a striptease while dressed up as a gorilla. As he dropped his clothes, Woo did a little dance that usually involved him slipping on a banana skin, and looking up at the audience, as if hurt by their reaction.

Despite the complete lack of change in the gorilla mask expression, each time Woo looked at the crowd, the expression seemed to be saying something different. 

It's the same with puppets - well, the ones with faces. I was watching a very long video about bunraku - the fashionable Japanese form that controls the puppet with sticks. The expression on the face never changes - everything is done with the arms and the legs and the torso - but the emotional range is huge.

Is it the absence of emotion on the face that allows the audience to impose meaning onto the blank face? Craig hoped that 'acting' would be rejected by future generations, and replaced with 'symbolic movements'. Lecoq came along and developed that kind of approach. Kantor based his theatre of death manifesto on Craig's thoughts. 

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