Journey into Hell: a Tour through Puppetry
One of the most frequent topics in puppet theatre is the representation of the close relationship between the earthly and the otherworldly dimensions, often dealing with narratives that refer to crossing the boundaries between human and non-human, between life and death. Many puppetry techniques deal with this theme: from carnal puppets to visceral guarattelle, from shadows to robots. The aim of this essay is to analyse some of the puppet theatre techniques that have dealt with the theme of the journey to hell in order to trace a path that investigates assonances and divergences. The study starts with an analysis of Pirù, demoni e denari by the Walter Broggini Company. The show is inspired by the famous story of Orpheus and Eurydice but becomes humorous through the use of glove puppets. The analysis continues through an example of shadow theatre, El Gran Baile by the company Cosmonautas Teatro de Sombras, where the main theme is the reunion of the living and the dead, then discusses the show Inferno by Louis-Philippe Demers and Bill Vorn, in which the audience is asked to perform, wearing teleguided exoskeletons. Man, the puppeteer par excellence, is finally manoeuvred by the inanimate, in this case, robot machines in a real Inferno where everyone becomes an unwitting victim.
Keywords: hell; shadow; puppetry; robot; journey
Copyright (c) 2022 Skenè. Journal of Theatre and Drama Studies
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Open Access Policy
This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.
This Journal is a CC-BY 4.0 publication (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). This Licence allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work’s authorship and initial publication in this Journal, providing a link to the Licence and explicitly underlining any change (full mention of Issue number, year, pages and DOI is required).
- The Author retains (i) the rights to reproduce, to distribute, to publicly perform, and to publicly display the Article in any medium for any purpose; (ii) the right to prepare derivative works from the Article; and (iii) the right to authorise others to make any use of the Article so long as the Author receives credit as Author and the Journal in which the Article has been published are cited as the source of first publication of the Article. For example, the Author may make and distribute copies in the course of teaching and research and may post the Article on personal or institutional Web sites and in other open-access digital repositories.
- The Author is free to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the Journal’s published version of the work, with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this Journal and explicitly underlining any change (full mention of Issue number, year, pages and DOI is required).
- The Author is permitted and encouraged to post their work online after the evaluation process has been successfully passed, as it can lead to productive exchanges as well as to a wider dissemination of the published work.