“I believe puppetry is taking more relevant place in theatre productions & films.”

British - Peruvian artist, Jose Navarro studied Art at Peru's National University of San Marcos in Lima; was trained in Mime by the master of that art- Juan Arcos and has an MA in Advance Theatre Practice - 'Puppetry and Object Theatre' from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Recently, he performed at the PUN International Puppet Festival.

The world of puppetry is fascinating. How and why did you become puppeteer? 

I've became involved as a puppeteer because I consider this art form quite attractive and challenging, it mixes different creative skills and blends well with other art mediums to express things in way that actors can't. It's full of possibilities and that makes it very enticing. I've thought and learn and exchange with many people around the world and enrich my experience with the puppets more. 

Can you tell us a little about puppetry scene in Peru?

Peru is a place where people are easily attracted to art and puppetry is no exception. Although traditional puppetry mainly is about finger puppets, most puppeteers are quite experimental and embrace tradition and modernity and are explorative to the opportunities that puppet brings to the theatre. 

Nowadays more and more companies are emerging there and I can see the number of artist and productions are growing. Also helps the fact of the visiting artist from other counties bring to the Peruvian puppeteers. 

What are your thoughts on Puppets as a means of social expression?

Puppets like any other art form are not exception to the fact that is interrelated to what happens in the social context. The conflicts and history of the people are themes of many productions and puppet even as a metaphor is used to bring awareness of certain social problems the country faces. It’s common to see puppets Giants accompanying the demonstration against social injustice, corruption and other relevant social problems on stage through puppetry. 

Have you used your puppets to communicate such ideas about culture and preservation of culture?

Yes, although I don't dedicate my puppetry exclusively to this issue, I have themes of inequality, discrimination, and heritage. 

'The Pongo's Dream' is one production that tackles the relations between master and servant, based on stories by a writer Jose Maria Arguedas. 

'Ritual Scissors Dance' relates to a traditional dance practice from the Peruvian highlands. And so on. 

Puppetry: A dying art form or not? What is your vision for the future of puppets?

I think the contrary. I believe puppetry is taking more relevant place in theatre productions, films, shorts and the trend is growing. 

What advice would you offer to new and emerging puppet artists?

Believe and love what you do. Puppetry won't die, in fact there is a revival and therefore an opportunity for keeping the tradition. Make effort to keep the tradition, because that gives your culture and yourself strength. It isn't easy, but all effort always will give you rewards. Try your best! 

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