File puptcrit/puptcrit.0603, message 114

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Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2006 22:22:56 -0500
Subject: [Puptcrit] Review: Basil Twist's short Montreal appearance

During the aforementionned 3-day puppet event, Basil Twist came and performed two short pieces.

The first was a work-in-progress "paper theatre" inspired by the musical Singing in the Rain. It lasted the lenght of the song of the same name.
It involved simple live painting  on a shadow screen made of paper, and moving of pre-painted images through some lighting. Shadow puppetry seemed to mimic the begginings of drawn animation on music, like in the begginings of Disney. Not my cup of tea so far, but it was defnitely well on its way to something interesting. It would make a good intro, and maybe that's what it was meant as.
I'll Keep an eye on what he's going to do with this!

Concerning his second contribution to the evening, I wanted from Twist the proof that marionnettes can be the incarnation of grace and precision of movements, since I never saw (in person) anything to proove my belief that this was possible.  It must be hard to have such a preceeding reputation. Expectations are always high for the people considered as Masters.

This second short piece was truly mind boggling, and masterful puppetry it was! The organisers were right to keep it as the closing number for the evening. 

He presented his Stickman marionnette, a choregraphed dance one would better describe as a magical flight, on a haunting song I've never heard before. The puppet was the most intricate and graceful piece of puppetry I've ever seen. The torso alone was three separate parts, and it all curved magically with the movement of the elongated body. No still picture could give a true impression of this creature. I could tell in one fraction of a second, when he was setting up, that some joints at least were very loose, like quite a few marionnettes I had seen before. I was told by these other puppeteers, that this "looseness" was to enable truly fluid movements, but I had never seen it achieved, with such possibility of shakiness gettimng in the way of the puppeteers.  In Master Twist's hands, there was the living proof! His mastery of the strings rendered any looseness impossible. It was smooth and seamless. One forgot the strings, it looked as if he were manipulating the air, or the puppet's autra, to not merely make it move, but caress it into voluntary following the suggested movements.
There was only one glitch:  It was way too short!  Probably 5 minutes, but It felt more like 1 minute!
1 minute of magic to last a lifetime (as long as memory lasts). I could have watched it 20 times and not get tired of it!
It sounds like I was evaluating and dissecting everything, but I only did that after the show, in retrospect.
There was no time for analysis while the magic was on.

I am impressed that Mr.Twist came all the way from New York for a presentation of such short lenght.
Dedication and passion for Puppetry? I think so!

I hope he comes back somewhere in Quebec for a full-lenght show soon.

Mathieu René Créaturiste
Marionnettes, Masques, Etcetera...
Puppets, Masks, Etcetera...
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