puppets

24 May

Last weekend I went to Munich for a little pre-wedding party — which I stubbornly keep calling my stag party, but most of my friends keep referring to as ‘staggette’, ‘bachelorette’ or ‘hen do’. The feminist academic that thrives in me rebels to the point of furious obsession against the diminutive ‘-ette’ or moniker ‘hen’, for all the reasons my insistence on replacing them with the robust, independent ‘stag’ implies. Whatever we call it, my thriving feminist academic was appeased by being surrounded by some of the most interesting, independently minded, intelligent and creative lady friends I’ve ever made. They, plus a great deal of fizz, a Eurovision contest, heaps of awesome food and a Pfaffenhoffen of yarn, made this the best pre-wedding party weekend EVER.

But before all that, there were puppets.

I wanted to hang out with my lovely Susanna who lives in Munich before things got started, so arrived a couple of days ahead of everyone else. Of course, ‘things getting started’ is a bit of a relative term. Almost as soon as she got off work that evening, we snapped up some bottles of Prosecco and Susanna kept me gently inebriated for the next four days.  Bleary pictures of us all being beery to come!! Plus, stay tuned for Wollmeise

In the meantime, PUPPETS! I took in a whole exhibit worth at the Münchner Stadtsmuseum while Susanna was at work on the Thursday.

The Stadtmuseum has a lot of puppets. It turns out Munich is a bit of a haven for puppetry. It’s a fantastic exhibit; half of the puppets on display you sort of look at and think Oh yeah! I’d forgot about those… I’m not sure why I was so surprised, but puppets come in so many shapes and sizes and designs! Like those carefully welded marionettes above. If you get close enough, you can see the joints and how they would move.

There were delicate 17th century French puppets, with exquisite paintwork and intricate clothes.

And shadow puppets, which I used to make in Brownies! They had some incredible examples of Chinese and Indian shadow puppets, but the lighting that surrounded them didn’t work for the camera in my phone. These were set behind an illuminated screen and you could just make out the manipulating rod made out of fine reeds.

Further into the exhibit, there were modernist puppets, including some absurdist and some Dadaist renditions of puppetry. These were my favourites, especially the octo-puppet in the bottom right of the picture.

The best of all, though, appeared right when I was thinking, There haven’t been any robots, and there straight ahead was an entire case of these freaking AWESOME robot puppets. Most of them are marionettes, but some were almost like the shadow puppets, with arms and legs manipulated by rods rather than strings — of course, some of them were probably conventional robot-robots and worked with a remote control, but that’s all puppetry really is, isn’t it? An object that moves without us seeing who’s causing the action?

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3 Responses to “puppets”

  1. kidspartyheaven 24 May 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Greetings fellow puppet lover.

    First of all congratulations on your up coming nuptuals. I wish you both a long and happy marriage.

    And PUPPETS! I’m with you on this one. They are a very large part of my life. I also identify as a feminist,( of the radical variety) but am also a natural born nurturer…ooh conflict, but it can be done- I have a great man who requires me to be strong and free thinking but also loves my cooking! –
    Back to puppets, I’ve got loads of pictures and stuff about puppets on my blog. I make all my own puppets, they are my livelihood.
    And crochet… I’ve just learned via youtube and I can’t stop making wee pretty things..
    and I wear a bra. Some rubbish feminist I am really ! Maybe it’s the modern variety?
    *scratches chin and ponders*

  2. Rebecca Christie 30 May 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    what a fun exhibit, I have to admit I’ve always been fasinated by puppets… not the shows, but the making of them -even as a child it was always “how do they do that?” Hope the wedding is beautiful, and that you can find happily ever after even when days are tough. (been married 34 years myself some rough times but a lot of really good ones as well.)

  3. Chris 13 June 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    Congratulations!
    And please, what is “Pfaffenhoffen of yarn”?

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