Wheras human actors try to minmise their breathing onstage and screen, "Puppets always have to try to be alive," says Adrian Kohler of the Handspring Puppet Company. Beginning with the tale of a hyena's subtle paw, puppeteers Kohler and Basil Jones build to the story of their latest astonishment: the wonderfully life-like Joey, the War Horse, who trots (and gallops) convincingly onto the TED stage.
The realism of the animal's movements and the coordination of the actors operating the puppet are astonishing.
The Handspring Puppet Company was founded in 1981 by four graduates of the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town, South Africa. Two of the co-founders, Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones, continue to run the company. Originally they created shows for children and then expanded into works for adult audiences.
The Handspring Puppet Company is now one of the greatest puppetry companies in the world, collaborating with a succession of innovative South Africa directors including Malcolm Purkey, Barney Simon and artist William Kentridge.
Apart from seasons throughout theatres across South Africa, Handspring has been presented at many international festivals including Edinburgh, the Avignon Festival, the Next Wave Festival at BAM in New York, The African Odyssey Festival at the Kennedy Centre in Washington, Theatre d' Automne in Paris, Theatre der Welt in Germany, as well as in Hong Kong, Singapore, Adelaide, Zurich and Bogota.
This video really highlights the uncanny realism of the large puppet's movements
For more information, please visit http://www.handspringpuppet.co.za/