Warning!! Permission to view this page is only granted to persons aged 14 years and over.
We were advised by the good people of the "South American Footprints Guide" not to miss the puppet show in Paraty. Even after being robbed by Dick (the taxi man) and getting soaked to the skin trying to find the theatre - they were right. The puppet show has been going since 1971 (good year) and it started in New York before settling in the early 80´s in Paraty. The current show started in 1996 and celebrates (what the company considers) the finest sketches from the previous shows it has performed over the years.
The show (which is for 14 year olds and over) deals with such thought provoking subjects as suicide and has received acclaim from no other than Stephen of the "New York Times" who stated that "at the end of the performance one is left with a sense that the puppets are more human than humans" or some such...We think secretly that Stephen may have enjoyed a whiskey or two before the show.
However, the Bruntons were also equally enamoured by the show. Unfortunately (being Northern Oiks who lack the ability to interpret high brow culture) it was for a very different reason. Early on, before the show had begun, Lisab started to get that giggling feeling - and warned Andyb that the show may provoke tears. This was not helped by Andyb shouting "I´m blind" (much louder than he should have) as the theatre dimmed it´s lights to leave us in complete darkness in anticipation of the first sketch.
The other reason for the Brunton´s tittering was that unlike previous puppet shows encountered (lets face it - not many) whereby the puppets are manipulated by strings - these puppets are hand manipulated. So, despite the company´s best efforts to disguise the pupeteers (by dressing them top to toe in black) they are still very visible. In the first sketch, which consists of an old man playing his violin, the women pupeteers were very noticable. However, in other sketches, they were less so. In the beginning however, this had Lisab guffawing, having to stiffle her laughter by stuffing half a pashmina into her gob and pegging her nose. Attempts at covering it over with coughing worked quite well.
The raison détre of the show culminated in the final sketch. This portrayed a masturbating (no kidding) female puppet. Unlike the other sketches that were in silence (except for the background music) this was accompanied by adult noises made by the female pupeteers (a la "When Harry met Sally"). The female puppet´s belly then began to swell (to signify pregancy) and as the pupeteer removed her gloves to take on a midwifery role - out popped (your thinking baby, so were we - we´d be wrong) a chiffon scarf. We felt that this would have left the 14 year old catholic girls in the audience very confused - it definitely had us scratching our heads! This caused more hilarity from audience members (and this time not just from the Brunton clan).
Fun was had by all. You had to be there really - and if your thinking of going to Paraty - take Footprints´advice and don´t miss it. There was certainly lots of giggling reliving moments as we walked home (couldn´t afford another taxi ride) and the rain mattered less because of it.
We don´t wish to extract the son of Joe Jackson out of the puppet show - instead we think that it can be enjoyed on many levels - that of Stephen from the New York Times or on an ignorant Brunton level. Also, the puppets and stage scenery are very well crafted and interesting in themselves - the best one hour we spent in Paraty!
These are some piccies of rain soaked Paraty