Figurations of Evil in Contemporary Puppet Theatre Dramaturgy


  • Francesca Di Fazio Université Paul Valéry - Montpellier 3



Puppets’ fictitious nature allows them to figure raw themes in all their concreteness on stage. In a close alternation of tragic and comic tones, contemporary puppet theatre faces the darkest fantasies appealing to traditional techniques and post-dramatic staging. Four different plays from the second half of the twentieth century and the early 2000s of the French and Italian repertoires reveal how the scenic space of the puppet booth may become a landscape inhabited by obscure figures. Ceronetti’s La iena di San Giorgio creates a modern anti-hero out of an old popular gory legend. In Brunello’s and Molnár’s Macbeth all’improvviso, glove puppets abandon comedy to collapse into a tragic situation with no escape. In La Chpocalypse, Lépinois employs the character’s typical routines to draw on the page a macabre dance. In Jerk, Cooper, Vienne, and Capdevielle concert their skills as authors, directors, and performers to stage a text that spellbinds a heinous story. Moreover, the plays analysed provide several examples of how the use of puppets activates dramaturgical processes that impact the text’s mechanism, creating a link between the writing and its staging.

Keywords: puppet theatre dramaturgy; figure theatre; contemporary dramaturgy; playwriting; repertoire