Amazing, delightful puppets
This week at Pygmeteatern you can see the devil. He appears
briefly on stage but otherwise makes his presence known via
Dockteaterverkstan's devilishly invigorating effects. The
fact is that A Special Day at Larsson 's Storehouse is a minor
sensation. Cecilia Billing, Anders Lindholm and their director
Juan Rodriguez do everything that all theatre should do: astound,
fascinate, concentrate and examine.
Hansson and Karlsson are two forgotten, brown-coated, diligent
employees at Larsson's Store. One day they happen to open
a box, from which a friend appears. This is not just any old
friend: it's Boxman, a loosely assembled figure with a firmly
fashioned character, who could have been drawn by Picasso.
What's more, when he loses his heart to the little mechanical
tightrope dancer, it's like Cubism embracing Hans Christian
Andersen. And, as in Andersen's story about the tin soldier,
here too a heart gets scorched by fire. But when the tightrope
dancer goes off to the toys' heaven Boxman has to stay behind
among his earthly cartons. And lo and behold, out of the cardboard
emerges at last the Boxlady of his dreams.
Dockteaterverkstan seem to be constantly seeking forms of
expression we can scarcely even imagine before they become
perfectly natural in the hands of Cecilia Billing and Anders
Lindholm. There is a playful heightening of tone; a store-box
theatricality that is nothing less than art. In their one-hour
show Dockteaterverkstan demonstrate what the critic never
really manages to put into words: the radiance of a powerful
theatrical experience. This is the magic that causes time
to stand still and makes the audience realise that there are
still reasons why adults and children alike should turn out
en masse even for a small theatre company.
A Cardboard Angel
No one is too big for Larsson's Storehouse by
and with Dockteaterverkstan. The two-person ensemble from
Skane is playing at Pygmeteatern in Stockholm and voild\ Small-scale
total theatre in snuff-brown Store design that packs humour,
love, hate and passion all into the same cardboard boxes.
Over the years with Dockteaterverkstan, Cecilia
Billing and Anders Lindholm have created well devised and
executed performances, with puppets of high artistic and technical
quality. In Larsson's Storhousee they blend their own acting
with exquisite puppetry, allowing "cubist" box characters
to meet both a classic devil and a toylike tightrope dancer.
Into the everyday routine of the store drifts
a whiff of the fairground, barrel-organs and clowns. The contrast
between the ordinary, dreary lunchbox and the enticing world
of the circus is exploited imaginatively, unexpectedly - and
with humour! Despite the sorrowful fate of the tightrope dancer,
it is the smile which prevails, particularly that of Cecilia
Billing's capable and dependable angel.
And all's well that ends well; the box man
gets his four-square lady. Director Larsson takes a holiday
with his former childhood sweetheart, Julia the tightrope
dancer. Old Hans ChristianAndersen gets stuffed into a Monty
Python circus canon and - boom! What a great little theatre!
There's a guest show at Pygmeteatem: Dockteaterverkstan's
A Special Day at Larsson 's Storehouse. With sophisticated
artistry and exquisite handicraft DTV presents puppet theatre
that's full of poignant detail. At the store, Hansson and
Karlsson - puppeteers Cecilia Billing and Anders Lindholm
- are engaged in sorting and piling cardboard boxes with scientific
precision. Suddenly the boxes come to life. A boxman is bom,
curious to discover his surroundings. He is captivated by
a delightfully graceful tightrope dancer from the nearest
box circus. But fate trips up the circus princess who is transformed
into an angel in the toys' heaven. The boxman finds solace
in a boxlady. Director Juan Rodriguez has shaped a concentrated,
rhythmical performance, that is secretive and magical, creating
its own theatrical world of play.
Theatre for children and young people was strongly
represented this year too. The pearl of the Biennial was Dockteaterverkstan's
A Special Day at Larsson's Storehouse: a bashful, timid little
show from Osby which, with the help of two eminent puppeteers,
grew to true theatre magic.
Swedish young people's theatre continues to
impress. Far from always, but when it's good it can be magical,
as with A Special Day at Larsson's Storehouse by Dockteaterverkstan
from Osby. For many, the greatest experience of the Biennial.