Art And Culture

Tim Burton Inspires Puppet Show Fantasia

There are many similarities between Puppet Theater and animation and the two mediums have influenced and complemented each other
Scenes from an earlier edition of ‘The Melancholy Birth of the Iron Boy’Scenes from an earlier edition of ‘The Melancholy Birth of the Iron Boy’

In his latest play, Iranian theater director and actor Ramin Sayardashti, is inspired by the dark, eccentric and quirky fantasies of American film director Tim Burton.

‘The Melancholy Birth of the Iron Boy’, a puppet play directed by Sayardashti, 38, opens on December 29 at Enrezami Hall of the Iranian Artist Forum in Tehran, and will run through January 17, Mehr News Agency reported.

The play is named after Burton’s illustrated collection of grotesque poems ‘The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories’, first published in 1997 by Faber and Faber, an independent publishing house in the UK.

It is Sayardashti’s second experience in puppetry. “My interest in puppet play is rooted in my fascination with the fantasy worlds of animations. I find many similarities between puppet theater and animation. Since the advent of animation, the two mediums have influenced and complemented each other.”

The undeniably attractive dark fantasies unique to Burton, 58, has created a new genre of animation, in particular inspired by Robot Boy, one of the sad poems in Burton’s book, which tells the story of a non-human robot baby.

“The deep, dark humor in Burton’s book has great potential to grip adults and young people alike,” Sayardashti said.

In the play rehearsals, “I’ve had the privilege to cooperate with Iran’s best professional puppeteers who will accompany me in the public show. They are Parastou Aryakia, Hamid Reza Bezdoudeh, Tannaz Jolusi, Hamideh Rasouli, Sepidar Zamani, Parisa Goudarzi and Nasim Yaqouti.”

The play was first performed at the 15th edition of the Tehran Mobarak International Puppet Festival in 2014.

It underwent revision and redesign by dramaturge, playwright, screenwriter and set-designer Nasim Ahmadpour, 40, when it was performed at Arlekin International Festival of Puppet Theater 2015 in Russia. “And now it is ready for a public show here.”

The play is a combination of stage puppetry and Shadow Theater. Dialogues are short and the performance is a fantasia, a musical composition with a free form and often an improvisatory style.

Sayardashti has designed the décor for the play and is also in the cast along with actress Neda Jebreili, 27, winner of the Best Actress in Supporting Role Award at the 31th edition of Fajr International Film Festival 2013.


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