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A CurtainUp Review Short StoriesOverview of The International Puppet Festival '98, Schedule of Events and Links to Other Shows
Overview of The International Puppet Festival 2000 Schedule of Events and Links to Other Shows
Hugo Suarez and Ines Pasic subtly entice us into their miniature world. They introduce us to their innumerable small friends--puppets formed from the duo's hands, feet and even knees. Minimal props include a rubber nose, a shirt with strategic holes inserted and perhaps an object or two. The duo then proceed to bring these characters and their feelings to life.
The puppets have emotions to whichwe can easily relate. A timid little guy (Pasic's middle fingers peering through a tiny smock over her palm form the face) hides rather than play with a bright pink ball. A delicate ego is easily assuaged as Suarez offers a midget marionette to a knee-high puppet whose cloth body is attached to his shins. Suarez slips his left hand through a convenient sleeve to become the puppet's left hand, his right fist already busy as the puppet's face.
Dressed in black with bare feet, Pasic sits on a low box and raises her leg. The sole of her foot instantly becomes an expressive long face. After slipping a rubber nose held on by elastic about halfway down, the illusion is complete. A tiny cap pulled over her toes is almost superfluous. Pasic's feet are as expressive as any good actor's face.
Also high on the cleverness quotient is Suarez. He positions his exposed knee at the top of a green checked shirt and then slides a red clown nose over. His hands appear through the sleeves to complete the illusion of a street guitarist. After strumming a song on a miniature red guitar, our musician counts the money tossed into his inverted hat.
The fact that the duo dons shirts and props in view of the audience, does not diminish the power of their illusions.. Although we do not know these puppet characters' names or anything about them, we react instantly to them as people with specific emotional states. A fractured singer belts out "Granada", dropping his jaw (Suarez's right knuckles) to make the high notes. Pasic arranges her hands in such a way as to suggest a buxom babe who's more than a little bored with life. In a poignant reminder of our mortality, an old man with a wrinkled chin (again made from Suarez's knuckles) seemingly carrying the weight of time gradually collapses.
These puppets are well- behaved guests. No one overstays their welcome.
The musical selections used by Teatro Hugo & Ines --mostly classical favorites-- undercuts the originality of their program. Pachelbel Canon and Mozart's "Elvira Madigan" Concerto can hardly provide the fresh slant that is needed here. An unfamiliar guitar selection was the sole effective accompaniment.
The show should delight both children and adults. If you're are lucky, Suarez and Pasic will give some encores after the just over 60-minute performance.