Stuffed Puppet Theatre



Teatro Nacional D. Maria II
30 May at 9.30pm
31 May at 4pm

TEXT Jan Veldman
DIRECTION Allan Zipson
SOUNDSCAPE Ferdinand Bakker e Kim Hayworth
LIGHT DESIGN Desirée Van Gelderen
TIME 80 minutes
A production of Stuffed Puppet
in co-production with Schauspielhaus Wien

When a father becomes stranded with his sick daughter at a camping, their hope of finding help turns into a nightmare, as the invisible inhabitants of the camping take over: an old vampire, whose eye has fallen on the sick girl, and his teenage vampire son with his guardian angel. The greedy and malicious owner of the camping and his old guilt-ridden helper only make the situation worse.

“Vampyr” is a fairy tale, spiced with horror and comedy. Its Scandinavian setting pays homage to Hans Christian Andersen. At first glance it tells about fathers, their sons and a daughter. Or do they stand for all human relationships and for all things that, one day, must come to an end? And yet there are new beginnings.

And one day it will feel just as real or unreal as a fairy tale.

Schicklgruber was based on historical events. In Vampyr, however, Neville Tranter turns away from history to create a world of fantasy, that is both strange and curiously recognizable. He lets his fascination for myths and fairy tales be a source of inspiration. The distance from reality that is created by the use of puppets and by the genre of the fairy tale may help to bring to life very recognizable experiences and feelings.

In “Vampyr”, as in all of Neville’s theatrical work, we experience the tragic limitations of our life. Characters, that struggle with their origins, with circumstances and surroundings and with the inevitable passing of time.

“The vampire father, Olav, is the most beautiful of the puppets: very large and with glittering eyes” - Volkskrant

“The girl-puppet (Inger)... beats many experienced Ophelia-actrisses” - Trouw

“The vampire-son is the most moving, with his gawky limbs and desperate eyes … a lonely boy that finds a companion in the girl” - NRC

Neville Tranter (1955, Toowoomba, Australia) completed his drama studies with the US director Robert Gist in Queensland in 1976, having also trained with the Billbar Puppet Theatre. He founded the Stuffed Puppet Theatre the same year. After the Stuffed Puppet Theatre had taken part in the Festival of Fools in Amsterdam in 1978, Neville Tranter moved to the Netherlands, where his visual and emotional adult puppet theatre developed to assume its present form. In his own brutal, ruthless but poetic way, he confronts the audience with their fears and dreams, urges and desires, personified by what are often life size talking puppets. Combining a minimal decor with sophisticated music, lighting and sound, using the oldest devices of the theatre as well as state of the art technology, solo on stage, with nothing but his puppets plus a number of assistants behind the scenes, Neville Tranter is capable of evoking images that the audience will not forget for a long time. His combination of down to earth humour, deadly seriousness and virtuoso puppetry has already made permanent converts of many who had presumed puppetry had nothing to offer them.

Within his group Stuffed Puppet Neville Tranter developed his typical style of visual theatre with human size puppets.