The Schmooze

Magic and Wonder at the International Festival of Puppet Theater

Patricia O’Donovan in ‘A Touch of Light.’ Photo by Ayelet Dekel.

Crossposted from Midnight East

Puppetry is one of the most radical forms of theater I have seen in Israel in recent years. Without fanfare, often working with the simplest materials, puppet artists vanquish the assumptions of popular theater and of “what works.” They create theatrical worlds — beautiful, funny, subversive and sometimes all three at once — imbued with a sense of wonder that speaks to audiences of all ages.

The International Festival of Puppet Theater took place in Jerusalem last week from August 14 to 19. The festival included 38 different productions, both Israeli and international. Had there been “world enough and time” I would have been delighted to see more. The selection of productions I did see revealed different approaches in the use of the stage and materials, yet all the shows had one trait in common: The audiences were spellbound.

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Magic and Wonder at the International Festival of Puppet Theater

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