Catch puppeteer Heiki Ikkola in action in Duck, Death And Tulip

Duck lives by a lake and leads a content life. She does however feel that someone is constantly watching her. She soon discovers Death is the one who is following her. Although disconcerted at first, she soon accepts Death’s presence in her life and even becomes friends with Death.

Puppeteer Heiki Ikkola brings Duck, a character out of Wolf Erlbruch’s book titled Duck, Death And Tulip, to life in an adaptation of the tale. Martina Couturier plays Death.

Says Heiki: “There are only two characters on stage in the play Duck, Death and Tulip – Duck and Death. While Duck is a hand puppet manned by me, Martina plays Death. It is a challenge for an actor when a puppet is on stage. This is because the focus generally falls on the puppet, which is a considered a novelty. Thus the puppet has to act like a person and the actor like a puppet so that they can complement each other. Besides, while an actor tends to require more room to perform, a puppet generally moves within a certain space. As people can see me and Duck on stage, I have to “be Duck.” The audience should notice Death and Duck and not me.”

Sabine Koehler, a classmate of Heiki’s at College of Performing Arts Ernst Bush, Berlin, made Duck. “Duck may look like an ordinary hand puppet but look underneath it and you will see the mechanism that makes Duck seem “human”,” says Heiki.

Starting off with street theatre as a profession, Heiki moved to puppet theatre when he realised he could put across a message better through puppets. He also found more freedom of expression and creativity in puppet theatre. He moved like a nomad with various theatre groups until his daughter started school. “That is when I decided to stop travelling and started working with stage puppets.”

Sabine and Heiki have teamed up and now run a theatre group called ‘Freaksundfremde’ in Dresden. So, how did Duck, Death and Tulip come about? “Martina wanted to adapt Erlbruch’s book on stage and was looking for someone to tie up with. That was when Joerg, who is the director of the play introduced me to her. As both of us loved the story, we got together. We have performed the play in various countries.”

The duo is working on the life of a Spanish artist. Heiki is directing this play. Heiki is also working on a play about old age and its related problems with Sabine as part of Freaksundfremde.

The puppeteer who loves travelling and meeting new people is all excited about performing in the city. “Kerala is our last port of performance and we are planning to stay back a couple of days to visit places and absorb the culture.”

Organised by Goethe Zentrum Trivandrum, Duck, Death and Tulip, will be stagedat Co-Bank Towers at 7 p.m. tonight.