Hitting the Streets
by Andrew C. Periale
This magazine is not just for puppeteers. It is for everyone with an interest in theatre, art, and other aspects of culture. Puppetry International is concerned, primarily, with
puppetry not as something " apart," but as an integral element of our performing arts,
whether the performance be live, recorded on film or tape, traditional, classic or contemporary in style.
The puppet has insinuated its way deep into our culture. Whether your particular tastes turn to Robert Wilson or Jurassic Park, or Hopi Kachinaso or the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the puppeteer's art is part of your experience. Such events have long been chronicled in publications devoted to theatre, film animation, mythology and popular culture. Puppetry International examines these events from the richly symbolic and visual perspective of the puppeteer. Our desire is to help redefine "puppetry" for our culture, so that it no longer merely conjures up easy images of plush bunny rabbits at children's birthday parties.
The puppet is naturally subversive. No one sounds that note more convincingly than Bread and Puppet Theatre director, Peter Schumann in an article which has now appeared in several languages. Stephen Kaplin reflects on future puppet forms in an age of integrated telecommunication and cyber-space and John Bell examines some of the more obscure roots of Symbolist theatre- precursors of Dada and Surrealism which continue to be an influence on contemporary puppetry, performance art, ands so-called visual theatre.
Finally, the notion of FESTIVAL- "Have you noticed?" asks Ted Killmer, "Now in the 90's, with an innately deep seated under current of excitement we're hitting the streets again... The paradigm of Festival provides the missing link." Puppet Festivals can provide a major point of intersection between the art form and the public.
The Festival of International Puppetry, our main feature in this issue, is a new festival- ambitious, multi-dimensional, top drawer. Only in its second incarnation( in-Fest-ation?) its organizers at the Henson Foundation are still looking to other theatre festivals throughout the world as models; and yet this festival is already beginning to provide a model for others.