Saxony: Australians bring a pair of Ubu dolls to life in Leipzig

The Australian Neville Tranter has had international success with his dolls.

Saxony: Australians bring a pair of Ubu dolls to life in Leipzig

The Australian Neville Tranter has had international success with his dolls. He is now also showing his current play in Leipzig - together with Pa and Ma Ubu.

Leipzig (dpa / sn) - With his dolls, the native Australian Neville Tranter deals with topics that are not for children. "I address sensitive issues with my plays - it's just easier with puppets, but it's always intended for adults," said the puppeteer in an interview with the German Press Agency. Tranter has been on stage for 40 years. He brought more than 25 pieces to the stage during this time. With his current piece "Ubu" he is now a guest on March 3rd and 4th in the west wing in Leipzig.

The solo piece takes up the text by Alfred Jarry from 1896. It depicts the rise and fall of the self-absorbed despot Ubu and his wife, Tranter recounts. "In my play, the characters are called Pa Ubu and Ma Ubu. But it's just an interpretation of the original," said the puppeteer.

The story is reminiscent of Shakespeare's play "Macbeth", which was first performed at the beginning of the 17th century, but also addresses current political issues: "It's about Russians, Donald Trump also has an appearance." Tranter says there is always politics involved in his performances. "However, I don't send any political messages. It always depends on what the audience wants to understand," said the artist, who has lived in the Netherlands since 1978.

When the puppeteer develops a play, he first creates the plot. "Then I think about which characters I need for it and only then do I think about what the dolls look like or are called." In the past decades he always wanted to find out what options he had on stage and what might not work. "After all, I only have two hands, so the limits are actually set," he said. The basis of his work is always that the audience understands the puppets as living actors on the stage.

Before the 68-year-old decided on those puppets in which the artist moves his or her mouth with his or her fingers stuck in the puppet's head, he also tried playing with marionettes or puppets controlled by sticks. "That's also why I came to Europe from Australia. There were a lot more opportunities here than in Australia," he recalled. The fact that he has been speaking English on Europe's stages since then has never been a problem: "Even if you don't speak the language or only speak it poorly, you can understand what's going on just from the way you speak, facial expressions and gestures."