Carles Canellas performs using puppets on 7 July 2015 at the National Arts Festival. With 38 years of professional experience Carles Canellas, Dean of the Catalan puppeteers, is considered by international critics as one of the most skilled European puppeteers. (Photo: CuePix/ Amanda Horsfield)


Seen on July 8, 2015 @ National Arts Festival, Grahamstown

Ragtime music, black bag and a very small chair fill the Amphitheatre stage in the son flooded Botanical Gardens. The magic is about to reveal. A clumpsy marionette tries to climb out of the bag, but gets stuck. After some attempts he is ready to greet the audience and is able to try out the chair that must be tailor made. His clumsiness makes him to fall down whilst rocking the chair. When he gets the chair back in position it becomes a motorbike. Carles Canellas has been playing with puppets for the last 39 years and is one of thr European masters that brings his characters alive with charm and mastered skills. With a lot of warmth he introduces a new persona and interacts affectionately with the audience. The second one to leave his mark is a tapdancing Johnny, followed by a grumpy grandfather who can’t wait for his turn at the end of the show and appears with slow steps, taking his time to make his way to the rocking chair to relax. The interaction with the audience peaks.

A bit of circus can not be missed in the show. So Felix the fireman makes his entrance as a dumb clown who is supposed to do the most extraordinary acrobatics. A personal favourite from Canellas is Pierrot’s Dream. The Pierrot dreams of reaching the stars but chairs and steps will not do the trick. A piece of ultimate sadness on music by Schumann and Mendelsohn swirling into a merry-go-around. Peppita dances the flamenco and Grandpa makes the grand finale on roller skates. Magic it was.