John Wright on The Marionette

John Wright with puppets from The Wild Night of the Witches

For the past week Little Angel has played host to training a team of puppeteers as marionettists for a revival of The Wild Night of the Witches, the first ever performance on the Little Angel stage. The show is homage to when Little Angel was more commonly known as the Little Angel Marionette Theatre, as the majority of work upon the stage was done so via the marionette bridge with marionette productions. Nowadays Little Angel encompasses all types of puppetry styles and techniques, but as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the theatre, it was time to return to our roots.

As we prepare for this revival we came across the below text written by John Wright, founder of Little Angel, on his take upon the marionette. It makes for a wonderful read into the depth and artistry John had for these puppets.

John Wright on The Marionette
In the marionette I see a form of delight. Here in the combined forces of design sculpture drama and dance is a joyful power which can be communicated without recourse to any form of disguise or distortion.

A man who can express himself through the marionette can mix with the mighty and with the poor, with the old and with the young. He can appeal to the high intellect and involve his creative urge in the interests of simple people. Such is the magic of the marionette that he can speak to the deaf and communicate with disquieted minds.

I put great faith in the instinctive creative urge and paradoxically in a traditional approach. Perhaps one should start by being unconventional, then work towards the traditional and a fusion of these elements together with personal tastes and experiences will produce something of rare value. Without copying from old forms and styles one should be able to learn from them.

I believe in spontaneous creative action but it must be based on a foundation of long and serious study.

A maker of marionettes should not be hide-bound. The depth of his enquiry into traditional form should be an aid to his release. Perfection should be his idea. The degree of bulk, down to the tiniest proportion, the style, the shape will give the movement and stance of the figure a texture that he will fee, and this with constant and full endeavour will be shared by those who witness a performance.

The Wild Night of the Witches is playing at the Little Angel from 9th – 11th September. More information and tickets can be brought via our website.


One thought on “John Wright on The Marionette

  1. I’m very happy and lucky to have seen the show. As a puppeteer It’s important to understand what motivates others (puppeteers) to create pieces and the first ones often reveal a lot of the true character and personal motives of the artist. This particular show was not specially created for an audience of children I was told. It’s easy to feel this when you see it, It’s eerier and spookier than most witches tales for children, many of the characters die (although some resuscitate) killed by poison. John Wright meant to create shows for a wider audience than children only. His text tells us of his strong belief in the multiple virtues of puppetry which I presume lead his motivation to alter the mainstream assumption that puppet shows are for young children (a long debate could start here) and create quality puppetry for audiences of all ages. His approach is definitely a highly inspiring breath in my own practice. I’d recommend the show to all puppetry lovers. You never seen one like this one before. Ludo.

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