Political Puppets

Napkins, chopsticks, and teapots bring a Japanese internment camp to life

In some ways, Lunatique Fantastique's method is perfectly suited to the telling of this tale inasmuch as the traditional Japanese puppet theater form, bunraku-style puppetry, shares several key stylistic elements with Lunatique Fantastique. Although bunraku uses elaborate, lifelike marionettes each about three or four feet high, the puppets, like the household object creations in Lunatique's shows, are manipulated by several puppeteers. And as in Executive Order 9066 and its predecessors, the handlers in bunraku wear black gowns and hoods and do not speak. (The puppeteers in Lunatique shows occasionally make sounds, but they don't usually use real words.)

Lunatique Fantastique's found-object 
puppet theater pares actions and emotions 
to their bare essentials.
Courtesy of Lunatique Fantastique
Lunatique Fantastique's found-object puppet theater pares actions and emotions to their bare essentials.

Details

Concept and choreography by Liebe Wetzel

Through August 28

Tickets are $15-22

826-5750

www.th emarsh.org

The Marsh, 1062 Valencia Street (between 21st and 22nd streets). S.F.

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The morphing of objects in and out of recognizable forms, the meticulousness of the choreography, the meaning imbued by even the subtlest gesture, and the sense of fun, even in spite of the dark subject matter, all make for mesmerizing viewing. Perhaps the Tony Award Committee should introduce a new category for "Best Performance by an Inanimate Household Object" in 2006. It would be a tight contest between the gingham napkin and the suitcase, though.

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