I know what you mean. For the first five years of my work, I lived in the studio behind the puppeteers’ chairs and sat in front of them. In my mind everything moved so fast that, even though my hands and eyes were in constant motion, I was almost motionless. As soon as I was used to it, it became second nature. I still find it difficult to move between the puppet and the puppetmaster while still maintaining an awareness of the puppet. I found that once you learn to do that, there’s not much of the movement that is necessary. We always had to have it so that at the end, we could always hear our puppeteer’s voice talking to us.
What are the puppets made of? Each one is made of rubber and foam. The puppets are very lightweight and easy to move, but they’re not that flexible. That gives me my greatest problems. For example, if you want them to dance around in a certain way, they have to move in such a way that they’re moving around in a way that they resemble the actor. That’s not easy to do.
Do puppets have legs in your studio or outside? They can’t stand up on their own. Even if the set is built up around my back, it can only be supported in a certain way by my hands and feet. In that respect, I’m in a rather difficult place.
Do you feel that there will be many, many puppeteering schools of the future? I still think that it’s a great way to develop creativity. There are so many other ways to learn puppetting. I am a true believer in this. The puppet theater that I was involved with, “Le Cloche de L’Audace” (the French Theatre of the Air), was the first one I attended. With it, I was taught how to take a puppet and make it move, to draw on it with emotion and imagination.
You began your career as a puppet performer in 1949. Why did that suddenly change? I was hired by a production company that was doing a lot of theater in Europe. We used a lot of French puppets in that production, but the puppet master that I got to know was not French, though there was one. He was a Romanian native, but one of the directors there made an effort to help me out. Before his death in 1986, he had sent me some videos of Romanian puppet performances in his home country. It made
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