Emotions and puppets, International Conference in Barcelona

An article about the day in the digital magazine: www.putxinelli.catEmotions and Puppets, International Conference in Barcelona

It was held on Thursday, June 28, 2012 the III International Conference on Education and Puppets which organizesthe Institute of Education Sciences (IEC) of
the University of Barcelona, under the command of the puppeteer i
cultural activist Teia Monner, true soul of these days that
they have been celebrated for six years. The idea of the meeting is to come together
in a single day a whole series of experiences presented by specialists,
presentations that take place during the morning, while in the afternoon there are some
practical sessions with workshops given by some of the speakers and one
puppet show, this time by the veteran group Puppets
Richard Bouchard

Intervention by Richard Bouchard. Photo by Teia Monner.
It has
to say that talking in Barcelona about Education and Puppets, a topic that
in other latitudes it is also often associated with Puppets and Therapy, it is
something new, despite the long experience that local teachers
have in the use of puppets. New especially because the Day
aims to reflect and put on the table the most advanced practices 
of this use of the puppets, looking for a systematization and a rigor
which can only come from experience when this is contrasted by
years and by the accumulated knowledge of international exchanges on the
subject matter. There is, in particular, the association “Puppet and Therapy
which has been in operation since 1978 and has not stopped working since
in this field, developing a whole language and a theoretical corpus 
absolutely exceptional.
Professional puppeteers have always seen this specialty as one
lateral appendix of the profession. But when you get closer to their reality
and you go into the exhibitions and debates that are generated there, one realizes
of how his practices move through the most intimate spaces of the Theater
of Marionettes, that is to say, where it is spoken of the thematic ones of the Double,
of the Dualities and of the mechanisms of projection that are always any
animation of an object or a puppet. Themes that are also
are posed and experienced from the deepest psychological nuclei of
the person. That is, in intimate contact with perceptual essentiality
of the human psyche, far from aesthetic and purely theorizing
academic. Practice and experience are the stones of this
activity that is also aimed at future practitioners, such as the
teachers or psychologists. I must confess that I was impressed
by the stories of most of the speakers, amazed at how they were playing
the essences of our profession, transferring phenomena
projectives and splits, basic of puppet theater, in practice
teaching and therapeutic.
open the Day a parliament of the puppeteer and specialist in all
these issues, the soul of the Meeting, Teia Moner, who was in charge of
present the general theme of the meeting, Emotions and Puppets, as well
such as the various presentations to be made in the morning and the activities
scheduled in the afternoon.
López-Cassà, teacher, psychoeducational and doctor in Education Sciences and
member of the Psychopedagogical Guidance Research Group (GROP), of the
University of Barcelona (UB), was in charge of locating the
thematic Puppets and Emotions from a theoretical perspective and at the same time
practice. After defining what an emotion is, it was shelling out
its different types to be able to place us in this complexity
interior so rich in nuances and contrasts. Educators and pedagogues
they seek above all a balanced management of emotions, given the great
difficulty in managing them, especially the most negative ones and
those that tend to hide or simply project themselves onto others, a resource that
it accounts for ninety-nine percent of social and coexistence conflicts
between people. In this sense, the effectiveness of puppets lies
in their capacity to be objects of projection of ours
emotions more difficult to express, those that we usually project from a
unconsciously in others, making them our enemies or
in true devils. The puppets accept these projections
unconscious and in this way they end up coming out into consciousness. They are,
somehow, some mirrors that we put inside us and that reflect the
darker and hidden corners of the psyche. As you can see, one
indisputable utility.
Richard Bouchard, Director General of ENAM (National Puppet Learning School),
of Canada, a leading and unique institution dedicated to
people psychologically unfit for work and therefore excluded from the
society. The uniqueness of the school is that it focuses its practice on
the Puppet Theater, with a rigor and seriousness in its use
really exceptional. Richard Brouchard told the story of the
institution, as they began with totally precarious means in 1990
to become the internationally recognized center it is now. How
the speaker told us, ENAM uses the puppet to break
the isolation of people suffering from serious mental health problems
and thus help them channel the flow of emotions they experience on a daily basis.
Basically a team work that is accompanied by follow-up
individualized and has already achieved extraordinary results.
Gilbert Meyer

Intervention by Gilbert Meyer. Photo by Teia Monner.
To us
the speaker explained that an economic study of the results achieved
it translates into savings by the institutions of about ninety
thousand euros per patient per year, an amount that, if multiplied by
number of patients, exceeds the cost of maintaining the ENAM in its
together, Attendees were able to watch some videos of performances
made by patients, where you could see how the costume and the puppet them
it served to externalize some emotions that were otherwise left
Also very interesting was the presentation by Gilbert Meyer, a veteran puppeteer from Strasbourg, France, of thecompany Tohu Bohu Théâtre,
which for years has alternated its activities in the world of
the show with a work of social and psychological assistance through
of the puppets (it should be noted that Gilbert, before being
puppeteer, was a nurse of the mentally ill). Specifically, we go
tell his experiences in Africa, when he worked a year ago
with a group of children affected by the AIDS virus in Chad. Les
explanations of their exercises and the various practices carried out
impressed those present, while showing us the huge ones
possibilities that puppets have to integrate children with
major health and social exclusion issues.
Gilbert Meyer, working with puppets allows to structure the chaos of
emotions and at the same time expand the perceptual palette of them, “everything
declining their fundamental colors ”or, in other words,
rediscover the five senses. He explained the widespread custom in the Congo
of the use that is made of the small masks, that serve to embody
people's problems. So when a child or adult has a problem
serious, the community comes together and builds a mask tailored to the
problem posed. In this way, the affected person is freed from the problem,
which the mask takes care of from that moment on. A naivete
very operational, as Gilbert Meyer has been able to see blankets.
He also talked about how the puppet is a kind of mirror that allows us
get inside us, see what’s going on inside us, and
observe the affections (feelings and emotions). In fact, all processes
therapists who use the puppet look for nothing but the patient
get in touch with himself. Likewise, the fact of building one
puppet forces the performer to unfold in what he is doing,
putting a certain emotion into it. A phenomenon, therefore, embodied that
it frees us from the abstract schematism in which our society
he seems to want to drive us. This explains why even Death can
depicting himself with a puppet, and that Punch ends up stomaching him.
Taller Gilbert Meyer

Moment of the workshop taught by Gilbert Meyer. Photo by Teia Monner.
Meyer spoke to us at the end of his speech about some projects
stories told through visual objects, inspired by art
Japanese, and consisting of tablets drawn in the manner
popular in some African regions.
take the floor Teresa Forcada, a teacher who worked from the
2005 to 2009 with a host group on the subject of Migratory Mourning, a
a school in El Prat del Llobregat. Titled the workspace “Classroom i
Life ”, Teresa Forcada enchanted us all by telling us one
extreme conciseness and a story as transparent as honest, his
experience with a group of young people who came from different countries and who
they lived the “mourning” of having left family, friends and a social environment
complex and affective. The work focused on puppets, for
which they had the help of a professional puppeteer
coming from Colombia. An experience of a deep humanity that goes
reveal the uniqueness, rigor and effectiveness of a work done from the
head and from emotions.
Taller Richard Bouchard

Moment of the workshop taught by Richard Bouchard. Photo by Teia Monner.
then Jonathan Sanchez presented us with a theatrical and entertaining
paper on fear, which he titled: “Everyone is afraid. And what?".
Professor of the Palau de Palau de Plegamans school, Jonathan Sánchez va
shell out all the elements of fear, explaining how it works and
ends up provoking three types of response: the Escape, the Confrontation and the
Paralysis. He told us about his experience with the students of the school, and
as puppets allow fears to be embodied and thus help to be able to
to objectify and, therefore, to relativize them.
Capdevila and Teia Monner told us about their experience in the
workshops with puppets that they carry out in the school where they work, with
images and some videos that were very rev elative and enlightening.It was
very interesting to see how thanks to the puppets, a group of children
difficult and without any empathy between them, he modified his
behavior to end up staging a final staging altogether
endearing and with a spirit of remarkable coexistence.
to finish, and almost in a hurry, due to having passed us by
the scheduled time, Ruth Revaliente and Marta Torrico exposed the
his particular experience in his puppet workshops, also of a
great interest, with pictures and photographs of the practices with theirs
Titelles Babi

Performance by the group Babi Puppets. Photo by Teia Monner.
you can tell that the results of the intense day were extraordinary.
The large attendance - perhaps about fifty people - was able
enjoy a series of presentations, practices and experiences made in
contexts all of them very different from each other: a theoretical morning that goes
complete with the practice of the workshops (by Gilbert Meyer and
Richard Bouchard), and the show in the afternoon (by the group Puppets
Babi). An exciting day, really greedy and fruitful in ideas and
knowledges. We look forward to the next appointment in two years.
All the papers of the Conference can be found shortly on the blog of Teia Monner:
some photographs sent to us by Glòria Roig i Giménez about the
Working day. The puppets that appear at the end and that have been used for
the rotating image of the cover, are of the psychologist Alba Juanola:
Fotos Glòria Roig i Giménez
Fotos Glòria Roig i Giménez
Fotos Glòria Roig i Giménez
Fotos Glòria Roig i Giménez
Fotos Glòria Roig i Giménez
Fotos Glòria Roig i Giménez
Fotos Glòria Roig i Giménez
Fotos Glòria Roig i Giménez


Rumbau is a puppeteer and writer, founder of the historic company La
Fanfarra of Barcelona (1976), of the Malic Theater (1984-2002) and of the
Pocket Opera Festival and New Creations (1993).