est. July 2009

Lisa Krause's Artwork (2003-Present)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Marionette Carving in the Czech Republic

I was one of 12 people from 5 continents accepted into a special course in Czech style marionette carving taught by
Miroslav Trejtnar for June 2011. Mirek was trained as a wood carver in high school. After that he worked restoring woodwork in ancient churches. In the early 1980s, he began working in puppetry for Jiří Barta's studio on a famous project "Krysař (the rat catcher)".

The end of which, in all of its bad ass sonic and scenic glory is posted below:

Over the 2 weeks of this program- we designed, carved and painted our marionettes. We then took 3 days and made up a show using all of our wildly different characters. We made props, sound effects, and sets out of things we had at the workshop studio.

Tara Cooper (Austin TX)

Mirek Trejtnar helping me attach joints.

Sam Ritter (New Jersey)

Our other carving teachers included
Zdar Šorm and Sota Sakuma, and Dora Bouzková helped with manipulation and performance.
Zdar Šorm

Mirek teaches, Sota and Zdar in background

Dora Bouzková "cleaning the scene" with Kay Yasugi (Australia), Nina Prader (Austria/DC), and Abi Tucker (Australia)

Nina and Pali Diaz (Argentina)

Junko Kanayama (Japan/UK)

We then performed at the workshop endparty and then the next day at the
Prague Quadrennial Exhibition of Performance Design and Space, for their Scenofest: Street Stories program.

Leny Pinkava, me, Mirek Trejtnar, Pali Diaz, and Nina Prader

During the evenings, we saw shows at
Minor Theater, Divaldo Anpu, La Fabrika, and a small group of us went to the National Marionette Theater independently of the program. After the program, Eamon and I visited The Marionette Museum in Plzen- about two hours from Prague by train.

We also visited the home of Mrs. Varlova who has thousands of puppets ranging from the 1800s to the 1980s in her apartment. They are hung on all the walls in all the rooms, sometimes double and triple rows. Sometimes set up with the actual backdrops from the performances.

Standing: Abi, Tara, Kay, Junko, me, Leny, Nina, and Pali. Seated: Ericka Haverly, Sam, Mrs. Varlova, Peggy Rock

Mrs. Varlova, who's incredible collection began when her husband used the money they'd scraped together under communism to buy a car- on a small set of 4' puppets from the 1800s. She now has probably the largest private collection of marionettes in Prague. In her apartment. Amazing. (They never bought a car.)

This is the most incredible program for the study of traditional marionette carving techniques, costuming, and theater exercises. They also integrate many experiences for learning the history of Czech puppets, animation, theaters, and puppetry, as well as exposure to styles of puppetry and their uses in the current theater scene in Prague. I got so much more than I imagined possible from this experience and I would recommend the
Puppets in Prague program to anyone who loves Czech puppets and animation and interested in learning the art of carving a wooden marionette.

Just look how crazy happy I am...

I was impressed both by the teachers and the organization of the program as well as all of the talented women I met while in it. We came from all over the world for our own reasons and with our own stories, and became friends in this experience together. I am interested to see how our lives all go from here.

Video by Kay Yasugi

**** (UPDATE from Lisa ON FEB 2013) Hello!  Thank you for visiting my blog! ****   
Please take a moment to check out my current project, 

where I have used skills learned at Puppets in Prague, as well as Bread and Puppet. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello every body. Thank you for the report.Which pleasure to see again MIrek Soha, Dona and MrsVarlova. Nice video which shows the workshop steps by steps. If you go to Paris, please contact us.
    We'ld be happy to meeet the workshop students ! (and Mirek, Leah, etc, too !)
    Catherine et Brieuc, who liked so much making dragons in April...