Puppet Show - Seas of Organillo

Organillo Alien Puppets

Last night we went with our friends Allen and Nilgun to the London International Mime Festival’s showing of Seas of Organillo by Stephen Mottram. The website descibed the play as this;

“The ancient seas of Organillo are warm and mysterious. This is where babies are made. In a sensual journey from fertility to birth, Mottram’s puppets swim and wriggle through our deepest Freudian oceans. Music by Argentine composer Sebastian Castagna, recorded on a miniature street organ – an organillo.”

And, yes it was that strange.

The puppets were amazing. Mottram cleverly used anamatronics to create little illusions that they puppets were live, like a flywheel to make these bipedal aliens swim, or a man rowing a boat. The performance appeared to be flawless, with no dropped or missed, or tangled anything. The craftsmanship and artistry was amazing as well. At one point he took a puppet of a single fish and slowly transformed it into a school of a dozen fish all darting around together.

It was the abstractness of the story that really got me. I couldn’t really guess what he was suggesting. I found myself asking:

  • Does he think that space aliens mated with fish to create more complex mammals and ultimately man?
  • What is that calm doing?
  • Are there really two alien puppets humping?
  • Did that egg really just eat six fish?

Seriously, it was a little odd — but highly enjoyable.

At the end of the show he came out and showed the ‘organillo’ which he had to make as no museum would loan him one. That showed him as a funny, clever, talented and entertaining human as well as puppeteer.