marionette theatre is an extremely complicated technique, the foundation
of which is laid in the 18th century. Each theatre has adjusted its
technique to their own specific wishes and demands.
In the Netherlands this specific form of marionette theatre is only
performed by the Amsterdam Marionette Theatre.
to move the marionettes comes in three separate parts: a cross for the
posture and walking movements of the marionette, a triangle for the
head movements and a long, thin stick for the expression of hands and
Our marionettes have at least eleven strings. Marionettes that have
to make a specific movement are provided with extra strings. For example,
Jeannot who makes a somersault in The Castle in the Air has 16 strings.
A team of
six puppeteers is on the bridge and brings the marionettes to life.
In the Netherlands, apart from the Amsterdam Marionette Theatre there
is no expertise in the classical marionette theatre. Therefore this
expertise is handed down to new players by the experienced puppeteers
of the Amsterdam Marionette Theatre, so that this special tradition
be maintained and developed. An 'instinct' for theatre and music and
unending patience are indispensable. The handling of a marionette is
comparable to playing a musical instrument: again and again technique
and expression are further developed and refined.
A puppeteer follows his marionette instead of imposing his will upon
the puppet. Each marionette has its specific properties: certain movements
it can make quite beautifully, others fit less well in its range of
movement or in its character. The puppeteer has to īdiscoverī each new
marionette. There are moments when the music breathes along with the
movements of the marionette and the puppeteer wonders: Do I play or
am I being played?