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Watch: Puppets take over Lisbon for FIMFA festival

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Invisible Lands by the Livsmedlet Theatre, of Finland
Invisible Lands by the Livsmedlet Theatre, of Finland
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The International Festival of Puppets and Animated Forms (FIMFA) has returned to the Portuguese capital Lisbon for its 19th year.

All forms of marionettes, from giant papier-mâché creations to shadow puppets, take over the city for 18 days, as artists from 22 theatre companies around the world show works on themes of identity and freedom.

Taking place from 9 to 26 May, FIMFA showcases the best of puppet theatre and animation, from nine European countries, plus the USA, Iran and Mozambique.

My Shadow and Me, by Drew Colby of the UK, uses the ancient art of hand-drawn shadows in what is described as "a cartoon created live" – an unfolding of small stories about meetings between different characters. The piece focuses on the theme of our shadows and our relationship with them, drawing inspiration from the poem My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson.

A cross between puppetry and choreography, Invisible Lands by Finland's Livsmedlet Theatre sees bodies become landscapes for tiny figures, refugees fleeing war and misery, trekking across shins and backs and the soles of feet.

And taking the action outdoors are the Giant Puppets of Mozambique, with a street show of enormous papier-mâché figures and percussion. In their show O Bazar e as suas... (The Bazaar and its...), the group of young artists puts on a cultural celebration of Mozambique, which also tackles the issues facing the country, including corruption and social inequalities.

FIMFA director Luís Vieira said: "Puppet theatre is a very particular theatre. As opposed to the theatre of actors, it's a theatre that requires the active participation of the spectator.

"Puppeteers do not really have to do much – they have to create the magic of illusion, they have to create the feeling that something is going to happen. The rest is done by the public. It's the audience that builds the show."