Canada's "Renegade Puppeteer," Ronnie Burkett, brings his latest, Tinka's New Dress, to Calgary's Belfry Theatre, Feb. 11-22, with an opening scheduled for Feb. 12.
A dark and humorous spectacle for adults, Tinka is based on the underground puppet shows held in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia (called "Daisies"). The story has two childhood friends, naive Fipsi and headstrong Carl, becoming puppeteers, utilizing the beloved folk characters "Franz and Schnitzel" to parody censorship and oppression. Burkett's show "examines propaganda vs. truth; compliance vs. censorship, collective society vs. the individual."
The Rink-A-Dink Inc. Production of Tinka's New Dress features 35 marionettes, and working carousel set. For tickets ($16-$20) and information call (250) 385-6815.
According to Bil Baird's book, "The Art Of The Puppet," War-era puppet shows, such as those given by "Professor Skupa," were tremendously important to the morale of citizens during the occupation. At the Ravensburg concentration camp in southern Germany, Czech women prisoners put on puppet shows using scraps of material. Ultimately, all Czech puppetry was suppressed, with more than 100 puppeteers reportedly tortured to death at the camps.
--By David Lefkowitz