Performances with masks and puppets

Masks and puppets - created with their own hands - are the basis of the artistic work by zwergenHAFT. On stage they will be carefully tested of their stage functionality. The individual character and emotional range of each mask or puppet is meticulously looked at. The (what appear to be empty masks and lifeless puppets) finally come to life and take over the stage is a result of the precise, fine preparation work that is carried out.  

 „Each face tells its own story. Set free by the mimic, the pure physiognomy associates with a particular character. In addition to this there is also a particular mimic-like expression which a person prefers to carry through life. The mask captures, to an extent, both physiognomy and expression. But a good theatre mask can achieve much more than just a single “frozen” feeling or mood. There really is something magical about it, the way a mask can change its expression, arrogant one minute but then also sad, appearing scared but also joyous. The playing with light and shadows on the modelled facial expressions, the mask-wearers bodily motions and the audiences interpretation (our brain is pre-programmed to read facial emotions) allow the illusion to be awoken with liveliness.” (Patrick Boog)     

Their non-verbal theatre pieces, which are mainly aimed at an adult audience, are the result of an actual condensing of pictures into stories through the use of improvisation. Both actors repeatedly out themselves as being incredible observers, continually managing to subtly present their world in a humorous, but at the same time grotesque caricature-like way. The stories without words, which both actors share with the audience, are taken straight out of everyday life and touch us with tragedy, humour and human warmth. Inevitably the members of the audience begin to identify themselves with the individual figures and recognise familiar people in the masks.

The body-based performance brings out so many emotions in the rather dry looking facial expressions that as a part of the audience one almost gets the feeling to have just been winked or laughed at by a mask. It might sound absurd but it’s only possible to achieve the particular look required by putting the mask on, it seems that they are really able to expose themselves. Good masks have the ability to hide the fact that they are actually masks. They tell stories and remind us of life itself.

„An actor addresses the audience with his form and voice. A puppeteer also uses his  personality but not in his real form, but in actual fact in the form of the puppet. He too, like the actor in his role, has to slip into the role of the puppet and meticulously present the character and it’s in uniqueness. The portrayal of a being (in the form of a puppet) can not only be achieved with an exact copy of the figure and imitation but actually through creative simplification and emphasis of the essential. That’s the secret, the somewhat incomplete, clumsy-like imperfection of a puppet that seems to bring it to life.“ (Alexander Huber)