When puppets start to talk they just might say things we wouldn’t want to hear

Photo: facebook.com/muppetgirls

Children’s toys are something very special – both for the children themselves, but also for adults who have long ago left behind their childhood years. It has happened to us all - rummaging through an attic or a closet to find an old, forgotten box full of childhood memories. And toys – the toys that, as children, we have sometimes shared our thoughts and feelings with. So that an ordinary game will turn into therapy, the kind that does not need another person, only trust and a feeling for finding the right road to take with the help of the thing you value most. Gradually, a game may turn into playacting, theatre, and the toys – into puppets playing certain characters. In this sense it is not known when and how puppet theatre came into being. In our day, however, puppet theatre seems to have lost its shine and audiences going to puppet shows have been dwindling. One of the reasons for this is insufficient advertising and the fact that the shows are not recognizable, especially among the young.

“I have the feeling parents take their children to the puppet theatre less and less often and the art of puppetry seems to be declining,” says puppet actress Julia Kolarova. Though more often than not she acts in shows for children, she has one show that is for adults: “What I have been trying to do with the puppets for adults is to show people that they can go back to the child in them. Puppets help us express things we find it difficult to say out loud.” There probably are people in the audience who often feel uncomfortable but at one point: “when puppets start to talk they just might say things we wouldn’t want to hear,” Julia admits.

One thing is certain, however, puppet theatre is still most important to children because it teaches them to distinguish values and, inasmuch as it is possible, live according to them:

“We, puppet actors regard values as something that is particularly important because it is thanks to them that children’s characters are moulded, they are able to communicate and start seeing the world in a completely different way. There seems to be one big panic in the world right now connected with technologies and life in the fast lane. Children need to develop more slowly because all this rushing around does them harm. Puppet theatre tears them away from monitors and screens, when they go inside they see something that is magical, alive and genuine, something that is happening right here, right now.”

The actress leaves the designing and sewing of the characters in the hands of a scenographer, explaining what they will be like. Sometimes creating a perfect puppet will take patience and more time, other times designing and making it takes no more than a few hours.

Puppets can be the perfect tool for pointing out and analyzing the mistakes of the powers that be or the opposition, whichever country we may be talking about. But for political satire to work one has to know and understand the agenda of society and follow closely all transformations. And as Julia is not that kind of person she says there are other things that matter to her:

“I am more drawn to the things that have to do with my female identity. Girls are interested in feminine things and it would be difficult to get them interested in political satire. They are more interested in things like the depth of emotions and feelings which are not so clear and do not interest men particularly, and that is quite a normal thing. The thing is that people tend to avoid politics. It is not a topic that is close to my heart either. But I would be glad to see other colleagues doing political satire in a way that will intrigue people.”

Photos: facebook.com/muppetgirls

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