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Updated: April 4, 2011 19:18 IST

Antics of the red balloon

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On a string: Telling a story. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan
On a string: Telling a story. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

The String Theatre Marionettes, London, put up a spectacular show. The audience were fascinated by the boy and his balloon.

“The Red Balloon” is a short film that caught the imagination of the young as well as the adult audience in the 1950s. The little boy and the red balloon, take us to a land of fantasy while sketching the life and people on the streets of Paris. And when puppetry and captivating music came together in retelling the story, it became a novel experience.

The show takes us to the kid's world — the blue sky, dreams and balloons are all part of it. One day, the little boy spots a balloon on a lamppost and he climbs up to get it, from then on the balloon is his all-time companion. Sometimes the balloon teases the boy by flying around when he tries to catch it; it follows him and mid-way hides from him, making him search all over.

The boy gets scolded and harassed, but he doesn't give up his balloon. Finally, he runs into a group of bullies who want to destroy the balloon. The boy's heart is broken when the balloon is punctured. In the end, all the balloons come to the boy and he flies along with them, higher and higher.

The Red Balloon puppet show by the String Theatre Marionettes, London, was held at the Spaces, Besant Nagar recently. The puppeteers Stan Middleton and Soledad Zarate succeeded in capturing the audience's attention. The skilfully crafted puppets and background scenes, added to the beauty of the absorbing movements of the puppets. Stan Middleton explained that the puppets are made in such a way that even when light falls from different angles the ambiguous expression on their faces remain the same.

Stan said that it is in an interesting story and with puppets you can do imaginative things like flying that are normally not possible. There are no dialogues; Stan says that the show could connect with all kinds of audience who speak different languages.

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