- Category Recreational artifacts
- Sub-category Public entertainment device
- Department Folklore
- Museum CMH
- Earliest 1981/01/01
- Latest 1981/12/31
- Materials Wood, Lead, Vinyl, Metal, Synthetic fibre, Textile, Cardboard
- Measurements Height 115.0 cm, Length 48.0 cm, Width 24.5 cm
- Related activity Puppetry
- Caption Character from a theatre production
- Additional Information This puppet was created for Happy End but was not used in the final production which debuted in Toronto at the Tarragon Theatre.
- Caption Felix Mirbt
The innovative work of puppeteer and stage director Felix Mirbt has left its mark on the world of theatre in Canada, and has greatly influenced the practice of puppetry in this country.
A native of Germany, Mirbt arrived in Canada in 1953 at the invitation of Micheline Legendre. He began by working with a variety of puppet theatre companies, as well as in television, and also worked as a set designer and production director for various theatres. In 1971, he directed Inook and the Sun by author Henry Beissel, and with this play, he began experimenting with the elements which would later characterize his work: full-view manipulation, the use of actor-manipulators and the use of narrators. Throughout his career, Mirbt pursued a rigorous exploration of the puppet as theatrical object, and of the role that the relationship between the actor/puppeteer and the puppet/object plays in the staging and interpretation of theatrical works. In 1974, he began a fruitful collaboration with the National Arts Centre and director Jean Herbiet. This partnership resulted in productions such as Woyzeck by Büchner, and The Dreamplay by Strindberg, which established the art of puppetry within contemporary theatre. Mirbt was equally interested in music and, beginning in the 1980s, staged operas and worked on several theatrical productions based on contemporary music. His work brought him national and international recognition as well as several prizes, including a UNIMA Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry, and a first prize for design at the Prague Quadrennial.
- Caption Full-View Manipulation
Full-view manipulation is a type of manipulation in which the puppeteer can be seen by the audience. Although the term "full-view" could be used with any type of manipulation in which the puppeteer is not concealed, it most often refers to a form of manipulation in which the puppeteer is placed behind the puppet to control it and not above - as with a marionette, for example - or below, as for a hand puppet. Depending on the type of staging, the puppeteer may be dressed in black or in a colour which blends in with the backdrop to avoid attracting attention, or may be fully visible, combining his or her motions with the action onstage. It is generally agreed that the contemporary concept of full-view manipulation derives from the Japanese Bunraku theatre tradition, or is at least strongly influenced by it.
Puppet from Japanese Bunraku theatre. In this theatrical form, very large puppets measuring 1.2 to 1.5 meters (4 to 5 feet) in height, featuring the entire human body, are operated by puppeteers in full-view of the audience. The puppets are controlled by means of short rods and strings. Principal characters are animated by three puppeteers. The chief puppeteer controls the head - in which the eyes and the mouth are very often articulated - as well as the right arm. Two assistants dressed in black, heads covered with black gauze, control the left arm and the puppet's lower limbs. The three puppeteers must work in perfect synchronization. A narrator, accompanied by a musician and located to one side of the stage, recites the text.
Bunraku-style puppets are full-view-manipulation puppets which, in certain respects, are inspired by puppets from the Japanese Bunraku theatre tradition. These puppets usually feature the entire body of the character, and often have small rods at the elbows, wrists and/or feet, allowing control of the limbs. Sometimes, mechanisms of varying degrees of complexity - located at the back of the puppet and incorporating rods and/or strings - allow the puppeteer to control the head or other parts of the body. The puppet can also be handled by more than one puppeteer, enabling animation of all of its limbs. A bunraku-style puppet derives more or less directly from the puppets of Japanese Bunraku theatre (see above), depending on how many of its characteristics have been drawn from this tradition.