Over the past 30 years, Handspring Puppet Company participated in the creation of over 16 theatre productions. Although the company has done some work for young audiences and for television, the majority of the work produced since 1986 has been adult theatre. Outlined here is the company’s work for adult audiences, in chronological order of creation.
TALL HORSE, TALL STORIES
The paper discusses the play Tall Horse, which was commissioned by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The play tells the story of a giraffe that was gifted to King Charles X of France in 1826. The play explores the cultural exchange between Africa and Europe, and the ways in which value is created and circulated.
HANDSPRING PUPPET COMPANY
This short piece outlines the ongoing work of Handspring Puppet Company (makers of the puppets for War Horse) in rural South Africa. The Trust is committed to the principle that artistic expression is integral to human wellbeing. In the contexts of post-Apartheid reconstruction, the imaginative boldness made possible through the puppet is a substantial resource for joy and exploration.
THE ARTIFICIAL REALITY OF THE STAGE
This paper is largely theoretical and it examines the spectrum of inanimate presences that might be considered “puppets,” in order to understand what they make available to cultural expression. The examples range from an automated bank teller to the IBM compute HAL (from Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey); to the macabre preserved body of Norman Bates’s mother in Psycho.