Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Puppeteer to begin three week European residency in France


August 10, 2017

A local puppeteer will head to France in October to complete a three-week residency that will help him finish a documentary exploring the art of European puppetry.

The Institut International de la Marionnette (International Puppetry Institute) in Charleville-Mézières France selected Bryne Power for the residency.

His documentary project, “Gravity from Above,” began more than 10 years ago.

“In 2006 after introducing different people to puppetry (in Haines) I realized it would be great if there was a documentary I could point to that would tell people that this is the kind of puppetry I’m talking about and there wasn’t,” Power said.

Power has traveled to Germany, Poland, France, Georgia, Czech Republic, Belgium, Austria and London where he recorded more than 70 puppet related videos.

Those include interviews with puppet historians and artists, some of whom have died since the interviews were recorded.

“I have recordings with really hard to find people, particularly people who were behind the Iron Curtain in the old communist countries,” Power said. “A couple of them have died including Henryk Jurkowski. He was the premier puppet historian for Europe who has written two huge books on the subject.”

Puppet shows used allegory to communicate beneath the censors in communist countries, Power said.

Puppetry is experiencing a resurgence in Europe. New and innovative forms of puppetry, such as shadow puppets, are sprouting up, Power said.

“Puppetry is an art the 20th century really needs. I think there’s a need for it, pure and simple. I was so impressed with puppetry as a way to really communicate in a tactile, tangible way in a lot of textures in a world that’s rapidly filling up with screens.”

Power plans to hire a professional editor to help finish the documentary.

Power helped create Haines’ first puppet group that later became Geppetto’s Junkyard. Power went on to form Reckoning Motions and taught puppet history and practice to local youth.

He’s started a crowd funder to help with travel expenses on and has reached 39 percent of his $3,500 goal.


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