Sunday, May 28, 2006

Merma Neverdies

(produced by Joan Baixas, performed at Tate Modern on 27th May 2006)

It was a strange experience. I didn't understand anything but did enjoy watching it.

In the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, five "grotesque" puppets designed by Joan Miro, a surrealist painter, performed an abstract play on a raised square white platform stage (a little bit like a professional wrestling stage) surrounded by standing spectators. It was certainly a play - each actor wearing a grotesque puppet mask cries, screams, dances, runs, stumbles, talks to each other, in an exaggerated way typical for a play. The plot was quite abstract - all I understood was first four puppets were crying because someone apparently close to them was gone. Then that person (another grotesque puppet) suddenly appeared from amid spectators and marched into the stage. The puppets somehow celebrated this. That's it. But my eyes were glued to the view that those grotesque puppets were lively moving, expressing emotions in an intense way, and rubbing up against each other just like children.

The way each puppet is designed in an apparently meaningless way reminded me of a variety of monsters appearing in Spirited Away. The way these puppets were playing around on the stage also reminded me of a bunch of Japanese animation characters that I'd seen when I was a kid in Tokyo. And I found the actress playing this puppet quite good. Plus, when she put off the puppet mask at the end of the play, she turned out to be cute! :)

I don't believe that any single bit of what I wrote above tells you what this puppet show was like. But that's exactly the point. Unexplainable in words. That is art.

Special thanks go to Cheyok for taking me to this event.

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