Around the world in puppets – So many steps

When I looked for the origin of these very special puppets, I found an Indian legend.
When I looked up how to say it in English, I found the French Virgin Mary
When I looked for who made it fashionable again, I found an Englishman.
So here is a little piece of art that is completely international : a marionette.

Then we will have to create a marionette for Altair, since Altair wants to be a completely international art place.
It will be a tribute to the puppeteers – and it’s a small object that is easy to sell, which will please the people who put money into this theatre.

Have you noticed that? There are franchises that sell derived-products – and others that cry because it’s not fair. It’s absolutely fair. Invent a spin-off & shut up.
How hard is that?
Oh yes, it’s about inventing a character … anyway

Well…. let’s talk about Marionettes:

Then – India : The Legend of Marionettes

Yes, yes, marionettes would be born from the amusement of Shiva and his wife Pârvatî. Passing in front of a sculptor’s shop full of articulated dolls, they breathed spirit into the dolls, which began to move and dance. Soon after, they left the store and the dolls fell back into their original inertia. The sculptor asked them to continue this prodigy and Pârvatî answered him: “Since you are the creator of these small beings, it is thus up to you to make them live. “It is then that the craftsman had the idea to equip them with threads and to animate them.

I promise you that I did not make this story up.
By the way, marionettes, string puppets, people have been talking about them since the dawn of time and it has become a metaphor of absolute boredom when people think they are being manipulated.

Next – France: the word “Marionette”

I had no idea about this and I am still amazed.
If you look at this word like that, without being French, you don’t see that it is not French at all – in French it is written: marionnette, the n is doubled for the sound, and the t is doubled for the sound & for the sense.
In English, because of your very strange way of pronouncing letters, you don’t need to double the n.

If one day you come to France, or if it occurs to you to learn French, you will notice certain words to which we add the suffix -tte: it means that it is the same, but in small and especially in cute.
For tonight’s topic, here is the origin of the word: they are the very small, very charming, very pretty figurines of the Virgin Mary: little Mary / Marionnette. They were very much used during all the celebrations of the month of May – month of Mary for us – but that was in the Middle Ages, and they have been forgotten.

Finally, England: the fashionable setting.

We are moving forward in time – compared to the Middle Ages – we are moving backwards – compared to ourselves.
1875 – an Englishman lands in Paris. His name was Thomas Holden.
He had been the stage director in 1870 of the very famous Bullock’s Royal Marionettes which employed ten manipulators perched on a footbridge above a stage 4.20 meters wide, 2.40 meters high and deep, to handle three hundred marionettes.

He brings this to Paris by adding a fundamental stage trick: the archal wire, a vertically striped backdrop that makes the puppets’ wires invisible.
The success was immense and here are the articulated dolls back in fashion.

From then on, the puppeteers competed with each other in inventiveness to animate their puppets and to impress the public – by going towards more and more realism – all this so that we arrive at the end of the 20th century with puppet figures more inspired by cartoon than by reality. There is no need to impress the spectator with this anymore.

hmmmmm….. sure ?

Isn’t this marionette story amazing?

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Featured Image : some Marionettes done by Compagnie Blin

8 Thoughts

  1. India is the abode of puppet theatre from the inception, especially in the 5th Century BC. Puppetry or the puppet theatre is one of the ancient forms of entertainment in India. Although primarily it is used as a form of entertainment; yet its importance in conveying significant meaning cannot be denied. For centuries, Indian puppet theatre in one form or the other flourished in India, particularly in the villages.

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