Each puppet has a name and a history...
Laia is the first marionette of the company, built between 2013 and 2014 under the tutelage of Lope de Alberdi at Pepe Otal's Puppetry Workshop in Barcelona. Laia is a very common name in Catalan culture - so her name is an homage to the city that was my second home, where I learned the art of puppetry. Originally, I made her to be a tap dancer but she developed painter skills. Her debut took place at the Titirifuente Festival in Fuenlabrada, Spain, 2014.
People often say that the first marionette always look like it´s creator...
In 2014 I was in Western Sahara with Cia Cromossomos and Clowns Without Borders. One of my partners, Jean Pierre (Arthur Toyoshima) was a huge success with the Saharien children, who were fascinated to see a Brazilian/Japanese clown. There and then I decided that my second marionette would be a clown. So when I came back to Barcelona, I built it looking for a character like a goon with a big heart and... it was born Japanese!
When the puppet was ready, with that big silly smile, I realized that one of his greatest qualities was to laugh, laugh a lot, all the time. I called him Alih, like the truck driver who took us to perform at children's school in Sahara. Alih was a huge and sweet man who was laughing all the time. He did not speak a single word in any other language than Arabic, but he was always communicating with us through his laughter. That is how I built a Japanese clown who has an Arabic name and who does not talk, just laugh!
Eru and Cuia
Eru and Cuia are two direct-manipulation puppets that I built when I returned to live in Brazil in 2015. Both were especially created for a Storytelling in a puppet theatre project in partnership with the actress and narrator Inayara Silva. “Eru” means bag or luggage in Yoruba and “Kuia”, in Tupi-Guarani, designates a pot or container. The puppets are named so, because they carry the Amerindian, African and Afro-Brazilian stories, myths and tales.
I went to an indigenous village in order to meet Hotxuá, a ritualistic clown. I was baptized with the name Katxekhwoi (katxe = star, khwoi = suffix indicating female). The myth of this godness tells how the Star-Woman taught agriculture to the krahô people, a group of originally nomadic hunters and gatherers who only started to have a sedentary life after demarcation of their land in the 1940s. Inspired by the experience lived in the village, I made “CUIA” with krahô characteristics and props, such as the typical haircut of this ethnic group, necklace of “tiririca” (kind of seed) and a bag of straw.
Built in 2017 in the workshop "I segretti della marionetta fondamentale" (The secret of the fundamental Marionette) taught by Stephen Mottram at MAAF - MarionettArt Accademia della Figure / TEATRO DEL LAVORO, in Pinerolo, Italy.
Each piece of it was hand carved in pine wood using very few electrical tools. It is a neutral puppet because it does not have a defined character, consisting of a small wooden body that can belong to one being from a baby to an old person, depending on the manipulation and on the imagination of the one who watches it. It is the audience that projects its images into that being and sees in it the references of their own lifes.
It was named Iroko in honor of the myth of this Orisha that represents the time and rules the Ancestry. It was the first tree planted on earth, from where all the Orishas descended, so it is the leader of the sacred tree spirits.
Andrea and Irina
Andrea and Irina are puppets made from juggling clubs. Both were developed for PsCircopatas Circus Show "Doidivanas" in 2017. In their preparation, I used materials found in hospital environment, such as gauze, bandages, plaster, medication packs, beads, as well as medicinal tinctures and soluble coffee for painting. To compose these figures of pathologies, I invested in asymmetries and deformities, especially in the expression of their eyes.