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Ronnie Burkett - The Theatre of Marionettes - "10 Days on Earth"

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This entry was posted on 2/23/2007 5:18 PM and is filed under Australia.

RONNIE BURKETT - The Theatre of Marionettes - "10 Days on Earth"

One of our favorite theatre pieces was called "The Theatre of Marionettes" with Ronnie Burkett - 10 Days on Earth.  We saw this in the drama theatre of the Opera House during Mardi Gras Month.  Ronnie is recognized as Canada's foremost master of marionettes and he was extraordinary.  He has been captivated by puppetry since he was seven when he opened the World Book Encyclopedia to "Puppets".  He began touring his puppet shows at the age of 14 and has been on the road ever since.  Not only does he pull all the strings of the marionettes, but he also does all of their voices.  

"10 Days on Earth" tells the story of an intellectually challenged man named Darrell who lives with his mother.  When she dies in her sleep, he does not realize that she is gone for 10 days so he continues living in his twilight world waiting for her to appear.

Ronnie had an amazing relationship to the puppets.  They all seemed so real and were fabulously carved out of wood and dressed like real people.  The audience absolutely related to them as though they were real characters, oblivious to him up above, in clear view, manipulating their strings and voicing their sentiments.  And the set was exquisite also.  A truly memorable performance!

We peeked backstage and saw that he must have had nearly 30 puppets to show the different dress and stages of development of his main eleven characters.  Here are two of the puppets who play the mom, and two views of Darrell's friend, who he speaks to at the bus stop a couple times.



Here are Ronnie and Darrell.  You can kind of see Ronnie above the set throughout the performance.  At the end he comes out and takes a bow, and you've been so immersed in the reality of these little puppets, that when Ronnie comes onstage he looks like a giant.



Here are a couple scenes of Darrell and his friend from the Salvation Army...





Here's the mom, just before she goes off to her bedroom and dies...



And here's his good friend Lloyd, who is a crazy homeless person on the streets.  But though he is crazy, there's a lot of subtlety in his character too, where he berates people who walk by "Have you forgotten your Lloyd who created you?", as though he were saying "Have you forgotten your Lord who created you?"  Interesting things, where Lloyd has fallen down on the ground, and people just walk right by him, as we would often do a crazy homeless person... but then there he is making you think - wonder if this were the Lord that you had just walked right by and didn't help get up?!  It made us do a lot of self-reflecting, and remembering of Baba Muktananda's great teaching "See God in each other."...


 

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