At the Puppet Festival culture is fun!

By Sandra Ríos

San Miguel de Allende once again has the privilege of holding the Puppet Festival in its eleventh edition, from July 14 to 20, at Auditorio Miguel Malo in Bellas Artes.

To manage a festival like this a challenging task requiring several sponsorships and finding ways to cover most of the costs. Added to that, one of the main attractions of such an event is that it is free!

This year the main sponsor is CONACULTA through the program of the Cultural Animation Department. Monica Hoth, Festival Director, said that this support will be given specifically to pay for transportation fees and guest groups. The Puppet Festival also has the support of Bellas Artes, the State Institute of Culture, the San Miguel community and artists such as the Neuromante group, which designed the poster; companies like Art Print, that contributed printing; and La Casa de los Soles, which housed all the guest groups.

This festival is not necessarily to attract tourists—it’s for the people of San Miguel. Hoth asks us,“What’s the point of living in a city that is a World Heritage site, if people who live here do not get any benefits, culturally speaking? It is important to direct the cultural offer to local people.” And she adds, “I like to work very much for children because they usually come with their parents, and a good spectacle for children has to have different levels of meaning; and there is a message for the adults too.”

For 10 years, Hoth was a teacher at the puppet workshop at Bellas Artes. Around 300 children attended. Some of them left their puppets in the workshop and are now going to exhibit them, under the title “Cuarenta pequeñas personas.” Hoth invites her former students to go and recognize their puppets. At the end of the exhibition, if they want, they can take them. Two free workshops will be held within the Festival; one of paper engineering, lasting 20 hours and directed toward plastic and scenic artists; and another for building puppets for children, lasting two hours. Registration takes place at Bellas Artes.

Regarding the paper engineering workshop, Hoth says, “There is a movement of theater paper in all the world; it is nothing new. In the 19th century, people went to the opera and at the exit, they bought the characters of the play in paper, and at home they recreated the play with them.”

The program includes an excellent range of artists from the entire country from cities such as Colima, Chihuahua, Veracruz, Guadalajara, Mexico City and Oaxaca. In the selection process for the groups, Hoth takes care that they are professional puppeteers. Their scenic proposal must be attractive, dramatic and aesthetic, and they must have acquired a certain poetry in the managing of their puppets. Most of the performances will be at Bellas Artes, with two shows a day, 5pm and 7pm.

Puppet Festival program:

July 14.

Astillero Teatro, Mexico City, “Nobody wants to be my friend.”

5pm,7pm. Auditorio Miguel Malo.

Synopsis: Malaquías is a six-year-old boy who has just lost his father and has problems with his mother, since he wants to spend more time with “Nadie,” his imaginary friend. And every time he goes with the strange Dr. Luz, a specialist in getting into children’s minds, he feels as if he is in a torture chamber, all because he is different because he wants to spend more time with “Nadie.”

July 15.

El Tlacuache, Guadalajara, “Zorbas.” 5pm, 7pm. Auditorio Miguel Malo.

Synopsis: Zorbas is a cat who lives in a port and who gets into a great conflict when he meets Kenga, a seagull who is about to die from oil thrown to the sea by human beings. Zorbas makes three promises to the dying seagull when she decides to lay an egg with her last strength. The most challenging of them is to teach the chick to fly. With the help of Barlovento, a wise cat, Zorbas, as a good port cat, will do his best. He will be surprised at the strength a promise can maintain.

July 16.

Demediado, San Miguel de Allende. “Two Mice and a Beggar.” 5pm, 7pm. Auditorio Miguel Malo.

Synopsis: Poncho and Eugenio are two mice who are good friends. They are hungry. They find a small piece of bread in a dump, but they start arguing about who deserves such a delicious delicacy. Vlad, a smart and avaricious beggar who lives in the same dump takes advantage of the argument between the two mice, and he eats the bread himself.

July 17.

Carapacho, Oaxaca. “The Passion of Elpidio.” 5pm, 7pm. El Sindicato.

Synopsis: Elpidio, a violinist who has just died, receives a gift that gives him extra life. He goes to give a serenade his beloved Elladira, without knowing that she has already died. When he learns of her death, he has to face a dilemma between the music and the love—his passion in life or his life in death. This is a mirror to look at eternity.

July 18.

Teatro Rodante, Colima. “Cero Aguacero.” 5pm, 7pm. Auditorio Miguel Malo.

Synopsis: The is the fragmented story of a boy who lives in a changing world.

July 19.

El Tenderete, Chihuahua. “Los tres pelos de oro del diablo.” 5pm, 7pm. Auditorio Miguel Malo.

Synopsis: Narciso, a lucky boy, has been predestined to marry a princess when he reaches the adult age. The king, knowing this prophecy, will try by all means to avoid it. Three hairs of the devil will be the key for the young man to fulfill his destiny.

July 19.

Carlos Converos, Veracruz. “Otras Manipulaciones.” (for adolescent and adults) 8:30 pm. Auditorio Miguel Malo.

Synopsis: The metaphors of manipulations, rude or subtle, touch all human beings, who struggle with those of power, those of love, those of ideas, those of faith, those of means, those of status, those that tie and define—the tenacious manipulations of  time and the subtle ones of oblivion. “

July 20

Maika, Guadalajara. El Príncipe Feliz (The Happy Prince). 5pm, 7pm. Auditorio Miguel Malo.

Synopsis: Based on the tale by Oscar Wilde, this is the love story of a statue and a swallow, two compassionate beings before the atrocities of humanity. Through solidarity and commitment, they discover that thanks to the love that joins them, they are capable of overcoming everything, even death.


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