Theatre: Mimi and Brumm, a puppet show, felt like a journey back to one’s childhood

Do you remember when as a child you would flip through pop-up books and the imaginary world within it would come alive? Do you remember how you listened fascinated to stories of magic and suspense? Do you remember how it felt to conjure up a make-believe world?

Watching Margrit Gysin of Figurentheater, Switzerland perform Mimi and Brumm evoked such memories. Margrit’s performance at Ranga Shankara, as part of the AHA! International Theatre for children, made one feel warm even while their imagination soared. Margrit tells the story of Mimi and Brumm, through a puppet show.

Mimi and Brumm are an odd and rather endearing parent and child pair. Mimi, a mouse, is considerate and loving and her father Brumm, a bear, is hard working and is particular about his cutlery: he has a favourite plate from Paris and cups from some other exotic country. But one day Brumm falls ill. He grunts and insists on going to work, but Mimi won’t hear of it. Off she goes to call Penguin, the doctor. The doctor recommends chamomile tea be fed to Brumm for three days until he recovers. Poor Brumm is not allowed to drink coffee, which he loves, only chamomile tea.

It was amazing how Margrit Gysin performed the puppet show. The stage was on her belly. Yes that’s where it was. She held herself straight, with a disc attached to her belly, which she rotated manually as each scene played out. On stage, at various points, were Mimi’s and Brumm’s house, with a kitchen and a bedroom; doctor Penguin’s car and dog and a whole lot of other little things of a little world. Margrit created an atmosphere of magic, complete with soft singing and the fragrance of chamomile tea.

The story was simple. The children enthusiastically participated in the play. They helped Mimi look after Brumm; helped her make chamomile tea for him; joined in with her in being stern and gentle with Brumm. The children learned care giving in a most creative way.

The play, though, was an hour long. And attention spans did waver a bit. But it was a charming evening overall. And when it came to say hello to Mimi and Brumm, the children were excited, obviously. But the parents? Well, the parents might have accompanied their children, but judging from their response — some sat at their edge of their seats and others went up on stage to say hello to Mimi and Brumm too — were even more so. And that made the performance worth a watch. It also made me reflect on how wonder, a childlike quality, is such a powerful emotion, but is eventually lost to the demands of adulthood. Mimi And Brumm brought this emotion to the fore.

The AHA! International Children’s Theatre Festival is on till July 13 at Ranga Shankara.