The theme of the exhibition, curated by the Art Director of the Foundation, Alessandro Schiavetti, is the transposition of the human figure into the stage space and the manifold forms that it has taken on in time and across different geographic areas. It is indeed evident that each culture, from our Western tradition to the Far East and Africa, has felt the need to represent human and imaginary happenings through the use of "figures". The history of the representation and movement of human and anthropomorphous figures, which probably originated from religion, ties in with the history of theatre itself.
The exhibition is mounted by the Geiger Foundation under the patronage of the Italian section of UNIMA, the Istituto per i beni marionettistici e il teatro popolare of Grugliasco (Turin), and the Museo dell'Opera dei Pupi Siciliani delle Madonie (MOPS) of Palermo and with the collaboration of Stefano Cavallini and Patrizia Ascione of Habanera Teatro, who will also stage three of their shows at the De Filippo theatre in Cecina. The exhibition reconstructs this complex, fascinating world through a wide-ranging, comprehensive overview of the highest artistic expressions in this field and presents these models in a totally new way as opposed to the often partial, sectarian approach of similar events organized in the past.
For the first time in Tuscany, the public will have the opportunity to admire puppets and marionettes of the Italian tradition belonging to the great families of puppeteers, marionette players and Sicilian puppet masters who made the history of figure theatre in Italy. The masterpieces on show include pieces of the Lupi Family (Turin), the Maria Signorelli Collection of Rome (along with creations by Vittorio Podrecca), the pupi of Angelo Sicilia (Palermo) and of the Perna Family from Frattamaggiore (Naples), the guarattelle of Bruno Leone (Naples) as well as the more modern, experimental models of Cesare Felici, Carlo Staccioli (Pupi di Stac) and Otello Sarzi.
The exhibition ranges from the traditional characters of the Commedia dell'Arte to the street theatre of the piazza dei burattini and the protagonists of more recent imaginary tales such as The Wizard of Oz, Pinocchio and other stories. These figures are set in stage reconstructions which contextualize and show them at their very best.
A second section of the exhibition overviews figure theatre characters typical of other European countries—from the English Mr. Punch to the Russian Petrushka and the Turkish Karagöz, including a number of more or less famous puppets and marionettes. Last but not least, the third section of the display leads the visitor to the discovery of figure theatre characters in exotic countries: Brazilian Mamulengos, puppets and marionettes from Mexico and Argentina, Bambara puppets and Gledé masks from Black Africa as well as Egyptian puppets. And then the Far East, with Indian marionettes, Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian masks together with Wayang Golek and Wayang Kulit, the famous shadow and rod puppets from Java and Bali.
These pieces, too, come from a number of Italian organizations, such as the Istituto per i beni marionettistici e il teatro popolare of Grugliasco, from important companies like the Compagnia degli Sbuffi of Castellammare di Stabia as well as from a number of private individuals.
Puppets & Marionettes. The marvellous world of figure theater
From 3 December 2011 to January 21, 2012
Geiger Foundation, Exhibition Hall, Corso Matteotti 47, Cecina (LI)
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Free admission