Les Hommes Vides
Les Hommes Vides is a 25 minute, low tech, charming, eerie and comic performance of slapstick and surreal table-top puppetry and object theatre. It contains scenes of plank action, eyeless shopping, bouncing puppets, poetry and ‘prizes’.
Les Hommes Vides
It is suitable for intimate, non-traditional spaces and small-scale performance venues. It is ideal for galleries, foyers, festivals and selected spots outdoors.
Les Hommes Vides can also be accompanied by a post-show 30 minute workshop for the audience in simple 2 person ‘puppet’ manipulation with simple head and ‘bag’ puppets. Suitable for everyone.
The second show by Invisible Thread – the new puppet company from Faulty Optic’s Liz Walker – is a simpler, more humorous affair than her previous work. There is none of the trademark use of live video-feed or bizarre wheels and pulley systems – instead, the production opens on a small counter inhabited by just two rod puppets.
The two-foot high, identical old men are instantly characterful, with their beady eyes and oversized noses, and engage in a pysical comedy routine to rival Laurel and Hardy. It begs the question, however, of whether puppets can do slapstick – when you can always see the puppeteer deliberately causing the trip-up it doesn’t feel accidental, and the biggest laugh comes when the puppet turns the tables and knocks over the puppeteer.
But there’s a deeper meaning beneath this seemingly light-hearted show. The old men morph into smaller, bean-bag bodied puppets who run a production line producing wooden blocks covered in question marks while a voiceover asks: ‘What are these objects? Why are they here?’ Members of the audience receive numbered tickets and are called to the front to collect packages like Argos customers. And in a particularly surreal sequence, miniature animals jump to their death, only for their bodies to be scooped into shopping baskets by eyeless dolls. Consumerism and the futility of human existence are the themes here, tackled surprisingly powerfully by these diinutive figures.
When the two bumbling old men puppets return to the table we see them in a new light – as rather pitiful examples of mankind’s struggle, here trying and failing to build a simple bench for the two of them to sit on
Slapstick comedy, existential angst and puppets – all in just 20 minutes. This is surely one of the quirkiest gems of the year’s London Internation Mime Festival.