On the occasion of organising the "Arlechino 66 ? The Caravan of Tales" International Children?s Theatre Festival, first edition, Arlechino Puppet Theatre from Brasov made a collection of puppets used over the years and gathered their secrets. The collection was the object of an exhibit at the "Casa Muresenilor" Museum of Brasov, where the puppets touched the visitors? hearts with their shows. Children did not want to leave the puppets and wanted to find out all the secrets behind them.
Types of puppets
Types of puppets: hand puppets (Bi-Ba-Bo, Punch (Eng.),Vasilache (Rom.)), controlled by moving the fingers put inside the parts of the puppet: head, hands, legs, also called sustained puppets; finger and rod puppets, with the head sustained by the index finger and tubes where the puppeteer?s fingers are put in; hand puppets with removable legs, a type of puppet combining two systems; Wayang puppets, or hand puppets (with or without a rod) and with hand rods.
These hand puppets have been used ever since the beginning of the puppetry in the early shows, such as: "The Puss in Boots", the debut play of Maria Dumitrescu and of the puppetry department.
The tales of childhood
The flat silhouettes, used as shadow puppets, and also animated at sight, as those used by Maria Dumitrescu in "The Sorcerer?s Apprentice" show (1963).
Simple puppets (with fixed rod in the centre of their head), handled from the top, in a screened background from a walking board, or at the level of the stage but with actors hidden behind a suspended board covering their feet ("Cinderella" scenography by Maria Dumitrescu 1958).
Wire puppets, complex puppets sustained by means of a fixed wooden cross and wires attached to fixed points of the head, hands, body and legs in the areas of interest for creating appropriate moves.
Natural size puppets
BunRaKu puppets, puppets handled by two or three actors: legs controlled by one actor, head and left hand by another actor and right hand and body by another one. We had BunRaKu puppets performing in the "Silver Fanged Boar" show. The innovation brought by these puppets in the "Arlechino" theatre was creating them in natural sizes, tied up to the bodies and legs of the actors, these handling just their hands and heads.
The used puppets were pretty heavy and the puppeteer job was seen as a "tough job", just like that of the mineworkers, dancers or circus workers, jobs that are not classified this way nowadays.