Since I was eight years old or so, I have been interested in marionettes – string puppets. My first was a dog made up of wooden spheres joined together. I was hooked, and marionettes became my hobby until my late teens. There is a clear distinction between marionettes, which seem to carry a life of their own, as opposed to glove, hand or rod puppets such as Sooty, the Muppets or Spitting Image, whose personality is more closely bound to the puppeteer.
The magic of marionettes has never deserted me. When I see them in movies, there’s always a pang of nostalgia.
My wife and I visited the workshop of Roberto Comin when we were recently in Venice.
What a fantastic experience. We were allowed to operate some marionettes, to see the way they were constructed, the exquisite carving of the jointed limbs, the moulded heads, the costumes. As an ex-puppeteer, I was impressed with the controllers, including a diagonal type I have never seen before. Roberto specialises in Venetian-based figures, and Commedia dell’arte, but his website demonstrates a huge range of capability.
In addition, Roberto is a charming man, a true artist and craftsman, and an enthusiast, a pleasure to meet:
A truly memorable experience, and we thoroughly recommend a visit to his website.