Dockteaterverkstan's With Bare Hands is also wonderfully
original and entertaining for all ages. With ingenuity and
inventiveness it uses choreography for gloved hands and presents
subtle scenes for skilful puppets - with a delightfully absurd
version of Little Red Riding Hood as an extra number.
One can also show boldness when working on a smaller scale.
Dockteaterverkstan from Osby do this when, as a finale to
their astonishingly adroit performance of "With Bare Hands",
they deliver an ironic paraphrase of Little Red Riding Hood.
By poking unrestrained fun at a well- known story and at the
dopiest sort of puppet theatre, they manage to make the difficult
concept of irony understandable to the youngest children.
The Puppetry Journal
Puppets in the green mountains
The final show of the festival was the Swedish Dockteaterverkstan's
With Bare Hands. It was a strong finish to a very fine festival.
Anders Lindholm and Cecilia Billing have arguably come as
close to the essence of puppetry as anyone I've ever seen.
Though the title suggests a play without puppets, they actually
do use hand puppets, rod puppets - even a string puppet! They
show the "life" of puppets, though, as springing
from the hands (and head and heart) of the puppeteer. Played
almost without words, this series of interrelated sketches
is filled with laughs and a few poignant relationship with
Mother than with Dad, and when at night it has finally worn
its parents out, it manages to into its parent's bed and replace
Dockteaterverkstan's puppets are often technically complex,
but in this show the puppets are generally simple. The high
levels of invention, surprise and originality were put in
the service of my favorite sort of puppetry: that which can
be performed by actors.
The Bielsko Puppet Festival 1994, 1996
Telling the story
The swedish "Dockteaterverkstan" disposed scoffingly
with possibilities of telling in a theatre always fashinable
and current tale about Little Red Riding Hood. A little puppet
looking like a good-natured woman and sitting on the edge
of a chest - a store of all theatre props and conventional
meanings - develops the narrative patiently and categorically.
The puppet is animated by an invisible actress who also gives
the puppet her voice. The actor organizing events on visual
level tries with great difficulty to keep up with the course
of the tale. Funny and humouristic troubles appear every moment.
Little Red Riding Hood fits with difficulty in wolf's stomach.
Out of limitations of puppets and objects - treated literally
- an anti-fairy is created, an excellent parody of theatrical
narration and very successful theatre play.
For both children and adults
To be able to amuse both children and adults
at the same time is a difficult art. But Cecilia Billing and
Anders Lindholm at Dockteaterverkstan succeed in doing so.
We were given proof of this when they performed With Bare
Hands at the library in Hassleholm yesterday. "Swedish adults
are hard to entertain, we know that. But finding a good way
to evoke honest laughter from the children isn't that easy
either," says Cecilia Billing from Dockteaterverkstan. Yet
with their play she and Anders Lindholm manage the feat of
amusing both big and small at the small time with just their
bare hands. The recipe seems to be portions of irony mixed
with opportunities for each of the spectators to recognise
themselves. And that's just what both adults and children
do, if not throughout the play at least now and again. To
assist them, the couple behind the characters have more or
less just their hands, dressed in gloves of different colour
and design depending on what they are supposed to be. Speech
is used very little and is replaced by squeaks, hums, moans
The fortyfive-minute play is intended for people
aged six and upwards. The lower age-limit has been set with
regard to the fact that smaller children have difficulty in
appreciating the action and irony in many of the scenes. But
an upper age-limit is, as we've said, unnecessary. It's all
so ironical and charmingly funny at times that even the most
tight-lipped person would find it hard not to smile.
A much appreciated part of the play, which
consists of eleven scenes, is when the baby mittenis put to
bed but doesn't want to sleep alone. So when mummy and daddy
mitten retire it tries to sneak into their bed, but gets put
back in its own cot time after time. At last mummy and daddy
have both fallen asleep, so the baby pushes daddy out of bed
and takes his place. "That's funny! He doesn't wake up," we
heard a child in the audience say next moment. The sudden
outburst came when daddy mitten didn't react either to the
alarm-clock or to mummy mitten shaking him.
The ironic version of Little Red Riding Hood
was quite something too. A hand puppet in the form of a woman
tells the story clumsily assisted by Anders himself who looks
after the props. This light-hearted play is definitely not
just for children; adults certainly get equally well entertained
by its irony and witticisms.