Marionettes, street theatre, glove puppets, mime artists, robotic creatures… all of them were in Charleville-Mézières last weekend for the 20th Festival mondial des théâtres de marionnettes. And so were we.
Puppets aren’t my thing, but they are my partner Damon’s.
He’s wanted to go to this biannual event for ages. Our plans to move to the south west would make going more difficult in the future, so we figured we’d go this year.
Charleville-Mézières is the prefecture of the Ardennes département and is about two-and-a-half hours away from Lille. It feels a bit down on its luck, so the arrival of hundreds of performers and thousands of onlookers must be welcome cash in the city’s pockets.
Damon had booked us into several shows over our weekend. Two really stood out.
The first was Incertain monsieur Tokbar, by the Turak Theatre, and the other was Kazu dans le froid de la nuit, by Singe Diesel. Both used a variety of inventive and intriguing puppets to tell compelling stories.
There were various exhibitions around the town too, including this playful circus-style one by Cabinet Stuchlá from the Czech Republic.
I was a bit surprised that this global event didn’t have more information available in languages other than French, but it didn’t hinder our enjoyment. The rain on Sunday did rather, though.
Nevertheless, the festival was something of a bucket-list thing for Damon, so I’m pleased he’s been.