Most of us have seen a title feature, especially when we were kids. The illusion of seeing those figures showing us a story, providing and overflowing joy in the public. Those moments when the show is in front of us we really enjoy. However, most of the time nobody thinks that there is behind that show.
We must say it, behind the puppets there is a lot of work behind the scenes, work that should be appreciated more. Well, it is a fantasy world that gives us an artistic function for all ages.
The fact that we re dealing with puppets does not diminish it as a theatrical representation. It is an artistic show with puppets. And that’s when we ask ourselves, but in this fast and technological world, is there room for puppet theater? Of course.
Puppet theater is an artistic medium that helps the general population have fun, relax, and imagine, kick-starting that fantasy part in our brain.
José Antonio García is dedicated to this beautiful art. So well, we interviewed him to learn a little more about the world of puppets.
Arandy: How did you come to the world of puppets?
J.A.: I was studying at the university in Venezuela and started working in my first summer camp. I realized I need tools to deal with the children, so I took a storytelling workshop and it was very enriching. I liked the stage, the connection that is created with the audience. The puppets caught my eye, so after camp, I worked with a small animation group and there I took my first puppet course.
From a very young age, José Antonio, ventured into the world of actor dolls. As we can see, he was interested in communicating or transmitting a literary message to children. We continue with the interview to know a little more about his vision.
Arandy: What is your objective or vision about the puppet world?
J.A.: The puppet is the best actor in all history. He does exactly what the director wants, an imposible situation in many occassions with people. It can fly, die, resurrect, be split in two, and then put back together again. It has infinite expressive possibilities. And they never get tiered. Puppets exude poetry from every pore. For me, it is pure magic to convert an inanimate object into a living being. Then they return to their natural state and so on.
A pedagogical and playful part.
In José’s case, the show has an extra element which is the environmental awareness with the recycling of paper.
As I mentioned at the beginning, the puppets fulfill the role of an actor in a play. And in the words of José Antonio we see that these are actors without bodily limits. Also full of poetic beauty since its creation.
Arandy: What is the most difficult thing in this environment?
J.A.: That gownups assume and undertsand that it is an artistic exxression that they can aslo enjoy and appreciate. Also, that the State financially supports the creation and promotion of this type of work. Or, that the private company invests.
Puppets are shows for all kinds of audience, without age distntiction. One does not have to be a parent in order to enjoy a puppet show. Everyone should enjoy this type of show more often and give it the value it really has.
It is extremely sad to know that governments do not support the arts in general. It is even sadder to know that well structured and elaborated project such as projects as José Antonio’s are not financed by the State, even when they bring many social benefits in a fast and ever changing time.
Although we will continue talking about José Antonio from here on we will learn about his PAPERformances project.
Arandy: Do you create your own puppets?
J.A.: Sure! I use recycled newspaper. I usually go to fairs where attendees are given away and there’s plenty left over. I also teach others to create them.
This is exactly what José Antonio was referring to when he said “In my case it has an extra that is raising awareness of the environment through the recycling of paper.” In addition to contributing such great art, it also helps our planet by recycling.
Arandy: Where and when do you present yourself?
J.A.: My work is complex. I do puppet shows and performances in which I manipulate the figures and installations where they sit still. I usually present a visual micro theater play in bars and small spaces. I have done collaborative installations in Madrid. I have participated in recycling festivals in Barcelona, in artistic residencies in Holland and Norway. I have also presented performances in Serbia. Now I am preparing a longer work and I am looking for spaces to present myself more regularly.
Well as we see this puppeteer is very active. If you want to know more, see dates of performances or participate in a workshop enter the official page of this project by José Antonio García: www.paperperformances.com
To bid farewell to this friendly artist, we asked the most important question to motivate them to attend these events.
Arandy: What do you feel this art brings to the world?
J.A.: Uff! It sounds corny and stereotyped but it’s the truth: The ability to dream. When you see an object or a puppet come to life, then you convince yourself that anything is possible.
It is a different way of seeing life.
Let us dare to dream and create. Let’s go slowly, without haste. Let’s enjoy the fine arts and learn to pay the intrinsic value that testas have. Because this commercial and fast world of disposable things that cost a few coins has made us forget that art is worth more than we want to pay for it. Art is food for the soul or the spirit.