cal mel garry

I forgot to tell you yesterday that Calamaty actually did make a friend in Melbourne. Of course he was drawn to Gary, the puppeteer. It is hard to believe that these two guys had never met before. The similarity of their profiles is remarkable, isn’t it?

Watching Gary perform with his paper puppets was absolutely amazing. The most interesting aspect of the show is that Gary doesn’t use language with his puppets! This doesn’t mean the puppets aren’t communicating with each other. They do! They chat away using made up words, laughes, shrieks, cries. They are able to express the entire array of emotions without a single recognisable word and of course they use body language extensively.

I always thought words are pivotal in puppet shows. My Dedes definitely need their written story – at least on the blog! Text explains the still images and brings the puppets to life.

However, performing is a completely different ball game. As you might know, I have held a few workshops where people played with the Dedes. One of my observations is that the puppets are a brilliant ice breaker to get the conversation going. Once people are on a roll, they forget about their puppet and it might sit limp on their knee and watch while the oral story takes over. I am now convinced, when we remove language from the play, the focus will stay on the puppet.

I thought I will give it a go and take the Dedes back to their roots. After all, they are dada inspired. Dada was an anti-artform that encompassed every aspect of art: Visual, Performance and Poetry as well. I never really warmed to the Dada poems, but seeing Gary’s performance it finally occured to me that of course dada poems have to be seen, not just heard or read. So I invited four people to my new studio to give it a go. Funnily enough, I haven’t heard back from any of them yet.

Maybe they were put off because I said they should make up their own Dada poem. It is not really that difficult. Here are instructions by Tristan Tzara, one of the Dada poets:

To Make A Dadist Poem

Take a newspaper.
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next carefully cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them all in a bag.
Shake gently.
Next take out each cutting one after the other.
Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag.
The poem will resemble you.
And there you are–an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.

Tristan Tzara

Of course these are still recognisable words (and this poem even makes sense. Very unusal for a Dada poem :). I really should go one step further and take a foreign languge newspaper….