August 5, 1948 died May 4, 2012
Rachel Ribas, remembered for her precise, delicate performance and her exquisite puppets, was the co-founder of the Brazilian company Contadores de Estorias. Together with her husband and artistic collaborator, Marcos Ribas, she created some of the most beautiful pieces of puppet theater, as well as raucous and joyful mask and movement performances that filled the streets and parks of New York, the Netherlands, and many Brazilian towns and cities. The Contadores toured world wide throughout the 1980s, until they settled in their native Brazil to open their own theater space, Teatro Espaco, in the 1990s, in the historic town of Paraty, half way between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. They are best know in the US and Europe for their trilogy of intimate pieces about love: Mansamente (Softly), Pas de Deux, and Maturando (Maturing), for which Rachel designed and made the expressive soft-sculpture puppets that became a trademark of the company's aesthetic. Her puppets were indigenous Brazilian Indians, elderly peasant lovers, young women experiencing their first sexual fantasies. The expressive figures always evoked Brazilian culture and often a strong portrayal of women.
The Contadores' work took them to many of the world's most prestigious theater venues and festivals, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival in 1991. A New York Times review of the Next Wave performance (Stephen Holden): The work...is a luminous moonlight-drenched evocation of a woman's life-cycle...By the end of the wordless piece one is left with the eerie sense that the miniature figures are more real than the humans.
The Contadores celebrated their 40 year anniversary last summer. Rachel had just finished designing their newest work, Flutuacoes, a lyrical dance and puppet piece based on Japanese painting and again delving into the realm of love, sensuality, and longing. This piece brought the Contadores back on the road, touring throughout Brazil. Again Rachel was a key performer in this delicate and complex piece. She last performed in the US at the Puppets in the Green Mountains Festival in Vermont in 2008.
Rachel is also remembered for her gentle humor, her dedication to her work, her family, and her friends. She is survived by her husband and artistic collaborator, Marcos Ribas, by her two sons, Ian and Boris and their children, and by the many devoted fans of her work. She lives on in the continued presence of the art of her hands and heart.
- Eric Bass
Brunella ErullIt is with great sadness that we have learned of the death on August 8 of Brunella Eruli. Brunella was the editor of our review Puck: La Marionnette et les autres arts (now published in collaboration with the L'Entretemps publications) since its creation in 1988, when Margareta Niculescu invited her to take up this responsibility.
Brunella Eruli, a specialist in the contemporary and avant-garde theatre of the 20th century, lectured at the University of Sienna (Italy). She greatly contributed to the reintroduction of the arts of puppetry into the history of live theatre, giving them their rightful place and legitimacy.
This is particularly attested in the entire collection of the review Puck, a veritable sum of references in this domain, including the 19th edition, which is at present being readies for printing. Although in the last weeks of her life Brunella was weak, she nevertheless continued to fulfil her role as coordinator and reader. This edition, which deals with collectors and collections, will come out at the beginning of October, and will be particularly dedicated to her.
Brunella was a woman who had both intelligence and heart, who lived life with elegance and curiosity. She was expert at opening fields of reflection, by inviting authors to exchange points of view and experiences, always giving the most important place to the artists themselves.
We would like to salute the intelligence of her analyses and her deep sensitivity which have marked in a durable and irreversible way the vision we have today of the puppet. We have indeed lost a friend.
Institut International de la Marionnette
Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette (ESNAM)
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