Saturday, September 19, 2009

"The Brave Tin Soldier" Multimedia Shadow Theater Production

This German production from Meininger Puppentheater has been touring festivals for a few years now, most recently playing in Korea and Taiwan in July and August, but it's so unusual- both in the tale it uses and in the manner of the production - that I have to mention it.

"The Brave Tin Soldier", based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name (a.k.a. "The Steadfast Tin Soldier") is a multimedia shadow play for children six years and older and asks an important question: "How much strength do people who don’t come up to our standards require to stand up to society?" (source)The Germans are known for their love and respect for fairy tales and puppet and/or theatrical productions of a wide variety of tales take place around the country (and outside it) every year. This 45 minute production appears to still be going strong at close to the ten year mark.Here's a description and review from a few years ago:
The Brave Tin Soldier, from the German Puppentheater am Meininger, also deals with the big themes of love and death and - given the intense, sad sentimentality of Hans Christian Andersen's original story - the performer Stefan Wey, a lonely-looking giant in ghostly white frock coat and top hat, is slightly less successful in avoiding mawkish self-pity and Victorian schmaltz.That doesn't, though, prevent this show from scoring a fantastic coup de théâtre by first inflating a giant tent in the middle of the floor, and then inviting the audience inside to witness a most amazing shadow-play, with all the images radiating from a giant pop-up book on a lectern in the middle of the tent. The effect is dazzling: Wey varies the scale of the images from miniature to giant by simply shifting his light-source a few inches; evokes a sea-storm by making the whole structure of the tent creak and heave around us; and signals the end of the story by making our tent-world world disappear with a twitch of a few zips. It's a slightly messy show, emotionally and physically, but the experience is unforgettable.
This sounds like something not to be missed! While you're waiting for the production to tour near you, why not try casting your own characters from the tale? Click HERE to find out more.
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