Merlin Puppet Theatre (Greece)

“Clowns’ Houses”

31 May at 9.30pm (Friday)
1 June at 9.30pm (Saturday)

Concept: Merlin Puppet Theatre Puppeteers: Demy Papada, Dimitris Stamou Puppets: Dimitris Stamou Costumes: Demy Papada Music: Achileas Charbilas Narration: Chris Androvitsaneas Photographs: Dimitris Poupalos Acknowledgments: Dimitris Poupalos, Evina Vasilopoulou, Faye Stamou, Natasa Crisovitsanou, Natasa Tapaki, Matoula Chrysou, Olga Dourachani Technique: Table-top puppets, objects and shadows For audiences over: +12 Running time: 60 min. Language: Some words in English


“... Blind are those houses, paper-thin
Old shadows hid therein,
With sly and crazy movements creep
Like marionettes, and weep...”
-Edith Sitwell, “Clowns’ Houses”, 1918

“Clowns’ Houses”: A puppet theory for the human nothing.

With Edit Sitwell whispering in their ear, Merlin was inspired to create “Clowns’ Houses”, their first puppetry show for adults.

One house, five flats, six characters: they look happy, but in fact they are leading tragicomic existences. They fear life, not death. Trapped in everyday routines and habits, reality appears in their dreams as terrifying monsters: flaming heads, suffocating electrical cables, aggressive TVs and long dragon’s necks that spit out bank notes. The surreal dream-like scenes revolve around greed and violence, crime and punishment. With table-top puppets, marionettes, animated objects and elements of shadow puppetry, “Clowns’ Houses” creates an unsettling image of society in miniature.

The spectator is watching them live their conventional lives in a dark, claustrophobic setting, with their fears, obsessions and loneliness. Merlin are dramatizing and demonizing their obsessions until they finally punish and liberate them with the most violent manner. Merlin doesn't attempt to do existential analysis through their work. They are dramatizing the modern way of living in its current form. Through the dark rooms of 'Clowns’ Houses' the loneliness of the modern man is displayed; prison-like houses, people trapped into their routines and habits, distant from their dreams.

FIMFA-Lx13-Merlin-Puppet-Theatre-1©-Dimitris-Poupalos FIMFA-Lx13-Merlin-Puppet-Theatre2©Dimitris-Poupalos
FIMFA-Lx13-Merlin-Puppet-Theatre3©Dimitris-Poupalos FIMFA-Lx13-Merlin-Puppet-Theatre5©Dimitris-Poupalos

Merlin Puppet Theatre was founded in Athens, Greece in 1995. Its founders, Dimitris Stamou and Demy Papada started their career creating masks and puppets for the theatre. In 2001, they started performing with their own puppet theatre. Since then they've run hundreds of performances around Greece, including workshops on puppet creation and play.

For Merlin, directing a puppet is a powerful mean of expression as it can perform under extreme, impossible or unreal conditions or even play roles and be in situations that a human would never be able to.

Believing that the art of puppetry should not be treated as one-dimensional, the group is constantly experimenting and working with artists from other forms of art (such as Tiger Lillies and Dirty Granny Tales) to enrich their knowledge, and feed their creativity, ideas and imagination.

They follow the traditional principles of puppetry which require the puppeteer to be involved in all stages of the production; from the conceptualization, design and development of the characters and props, to the sound and lighting until the final stage of the animation of the puppet.

They've participated in festivals, exhibitions, conferences and educational seminars.
From October 2011 Merlin company is based in Berlin and touring around Europe with its performances. Merlin Puppet Theatre lives and works in Athens and Berlin.

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