The cultures of the puppet


‘Many Italians, as children, had fun watching the adventures of the puppets Fagiolino and Sandrone. Talking about puppets immediately brings to memory our childhood and all its memories. But also some more serious works like “Don Quixote” or “The castle” by Kafka have been staged using puppets. “Otello Sarzi, son and nephew of puppet makers ” Fulvio De Nigris wrote for the Magazine “Burattini” (Puppets), “is undoubtedly the man who, in the region of Emilia-Romagna, experimented the use of puppets for a kind of theatre that was not exclusively for children. Giving puppets an adult configuration seems to have been one of his main objectives, without forgetting its main audience, that is boys and girls. This Rimini exhibition gives us a close-up of the 30 year work of a man who is considered a great figure of puppet theatre and of theatre in general. Otello Sarzi has taken to the Meeting an exhibition of 250 puppets (the entire collection comprises 3,000 pieces, if we do not include those which got destroyed over the years), coming from the most important shows realised by T.S.B.M. (Teatro il Setaccio Burattini-Marionette) for theatre and television. The exhibition is also enriched with a wide photographic repertoire and with the presence of some puppeteers who, in the traditional box (called “barac-ca”), will revive the puppets and their stories. The art of Otello Sarzi is rooted in the last century, in 1862, when his grandfather Antonio, in San Giorgio in Frassine, near Mantova, started travelling around the countryside with a wheelbarrow, a donkey and the puppets. The theatres for this kind of performances were courtyards, inns and stables; the puppets were still rudimentary; the stories narrated were just repetitions of old tales. The work was carried forward by Francisco, Otello’s father, who made a great contribution to the creation of new texts for puppet comedies. In 1952 Otello took over the continuation of the tradition of the Sarzi family. A year later he founded the T.S.B.M in Rome. He remained in Rome for about 16 years, during which his main preoccupation was that of recuperating the specific theatrical language of puppets. In 1969 T.S.B.M. moved to Reggio Emilia, where it is presently located. Many young people have turned to the puppet master throughout the years to learn how to perform for young audiences. Many of the theatrical groups which have emerged in Emilia Romagna in the last 10 years have had to measure themselves against the experience and the teaching of Otello Sarzi. This has happened thanks to Sarzi’s ability to combine his loyalty to tradition with an openness to new trends in modern show business.’


24 Agosto 1985 - 31 Agosto 1985


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions