Observations: Puppetry out of the shadows
Friday 27 February 2009
When most people think of old-fashioned puppets, they think of the Punch and Judy shows they used to watch at the seaside when they were little. That is unless they've seen the lovingly crafted paper characters of The Paper Cinema; a company which cleverly mixes animation, art and live music to make a surreal, nu-folk cinematic experience. A cult hit at the Edinburgh Forest Fringe last year where people queued round the block for tickets, now, creator Nic Rawling is putting on a new show as part of the East Festival, celebrating culture in east London (from 5 to 10 March).
The show, based on a series of dreams which explore fun ways to navigate the city, will be the first time he has used drawings in colour. The concept is simple: Rawling uses a projector and light, creating perspective by working his intricate paper puppets by hand. For this show, he is collaborating with the musician Roger Eno, who will play the piano. Like a quirky silent movie, there is no narrative, just music, with strange sounds and instrumental comic references.
"We approach cinema as if it's a live gig," explains Rawling, who has already taken The Paper Cinema to the Glastonbury and Latitude festivals. "The audience gets lost in the music and then focuses back on the band. Here, you get lost in the film and then realise that it's being made in front of you." Which rather puts Punch and Judy's "he's behind you" efforts in the shade.
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