In association with our Puppet Power: Festival of Ideas which runs May 23 – 29, 2022 we’re excited to offer a Puppet Power Artist Feature, a series of blogs exploring the role of puppetry in ‘celebration’ of some sort or another. Thank you to the puppeteers from around the world, who contributed their insights and their work in these challenging times.
CELEBRATING GROWING UP
by Mélanie Lefebvre, from Tian Gombau, Castelló de la Plana-Spain
(edited Wendy Passmore-Godfrey)
Tian Gombau’s show “New Shoes” speaks with poetry and simplicity of growth and the feelings that growing up entails. The 35-minute object theatre production for young children has won many awards as its universal theme resonates.
A celebration encompasses many different types and ways of celebrating something.
“New shoes” references a tradition that has been celebrated for many years in the small Mediterranean town of Vinaròs. On Santa Catalina’s day, November 24, the children of the town received new clothes and a pair of new shoes, to prepare them for the coming cold of winter. The children put on their new shoes and retrieve a meringue cake, typical of the time (“La prima”), from the empty shoe box. Then they go to the river and eat their treat. It was a very special day because it meant that the shoes from the previous year had grown small … and this of course meant that the children had grown.
This festival continues to be celebrated to this day. The cake is still eaten by the river, traditional songs are still sung, but in these modern times the children have several pairs of shoes.
“New Shoes” starts from a local event, a custom, a tradition of a Mediterranean town, to arrive at the universal human experience. Through the narrative of a small initiatory journey, of learning, discovery and of bond with nature, it reflects cultural identity, tradition, and the symbolic representation of growth stages and growing up.
The shoes of the child accumulate experiences. The size of the shoes follows over the years.
The size measures the foot, but also the age, the experiences, the way we walk through life.
The days, the years and the shoe boxes go by. Small, medium, large …
(Puppet Power Artist Feature)