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by the readers


Meet Raffaello Ugo, an artist who creates moving sculptures with recycled materials powered by water and founder of AVVOLTE L'INVERSO, a puppet theater company.
He is a shaman who serenely continues his research and transforms it into beauty to be given back to the whole community.
Today Raphael says: "The image of the shaman corresponds to that ideal world mentioned in our Constitution. Every citizen has the duty to carry out, according to his own possibilities and his own choice, an activity or a function that contributes to material progress or spirituality of society. It would be nice if we could say that we have managed to do just that and that our government has removed any obstacles that could have prevented us from doing our job well. "
His theatrical productions of considerable interest were FLUSSO and NAUTILUS, two shows for actor with water-powered theatrical machines. Water has always been the element present in his shows and it still is in his installations. 

When it rains, water wets all things, and things touched by water have a thrill. But the water doesn't stop on things because the water flows, the water has to flow, you don't have to stop the water. The water that stops suffers, feels suffocated. The water must flow, it cannot be forced indoors. The containers, the bottles, are the prison of water, the water can no longer breathe, it feels suffocated, in prison,  because in prison you suffer, you get sick. You can even die in prison. When I see her like this (the drop of water falling makes a sound) I think I love her, and she knows it. This water is happy, I hear it laughing… »From Nautilus by Raffaello Ugo, When it rains.

Raphael closed his company because «the theater, as it is organized, I was not able to manage it. As we have said before, it is difficult to stay creative when you have to follow all the administration practices and feel the breath on your neck of commitments that you cannot refuse and of payment deadlines or other practices that take away the energy that should all be addressed to the field of art. "
He continued his research in the artistic field and in 2018 invited us to the inauguration of CADENZE, his new installation, always composed of mobile sculptures moved by water and accompanied by short and dazzling stories. One of these is "Twelve Seconds".
You can't stop the water, because when this happens you die. When water is prevented from flowing, someone dies somewhere. Whenever this leaf spills its contents, a child dies. It happens a long way from here. Some say they are children different from ours, and I believe it is true. When our children die of thirst after a long run, after a game of football, they are all sweaty and must immediately drink a large amount of water. When those other children die of thirst, they open their mouths and the flies deposit their eggs on their tongues. Every 12 seconds a child dies of thirst ... a balance ... that is broken ... and when a balance is broken, it is broken for everyone. When there is no water there is silence. It is not the silence of when you listen, it is a very strong and heavy silence, it is as if objects, all things became mute and blind and deaf. There is no more water, there is no longer the soul, nothing has more life without water. Only water can show the soul of things, it is the flowing of water, the soul of things, the soul of the world. Sometimes someone says there is no water in the desert, but that's not true. In the desert there is water and the small animals that live there know it, and it is enough for them. There are many good things in the world ... and some bad things. Sometimes I wonder if good and bad things are in balance with each other ... "
Raphael writes to me today: «Probably, however it goes, we are the seeds of that spring that will necessarily arrive. We are still underground, we protect ourselves as we can, we wait. But we are in a cyclical world ».
Raphael has always struck me deeply, and will continue to amaze me with his extraordinary visions. He opens chests, from which treasures come out.
Agostino Cacciabue, Tages Theater. 
Quartu Sant'Elena, 10 February '22 


Speaking in Cagliari in our festival with Valeria, I felt that water would be the theme of the magazine, so with passion I spoke to her about two shows I had seen in Cagliari.

The first: L'AVARO DI MOLIÈRE by cia Jordi Bertran  of Barcelona, where the main object was water.

The other, MAISON MÈRE by Phia Ménard , where water is the final solver subject.

I talked about the first with the author I have known for many years and he offered to tell  directly him the original creation. 
The process of gestation of the original idea of the show L'Avaro by the Jordi Bertran Company

Some say that good creative ideas come when you are sitting in a chair thinking or imagining, others when you are sitting quietly on the toilet.

As for me, since I never stand still, great ideas come to me in motion. Working. In this case I have to go back to a month in the spring of 1998. In that spring I gave acting lessons with puppets at the Theater Institute of the Diputación de Barcelona.

I was reading a book whose name I don't remember, something like: Water in Universal Literature, in which fragments of books by authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde or Ovid were cited. I proposed to my students to develop a theatrical project where water was the main protagonist, they chose the myth of Narcissus.

In the classroom was a latex head built by Alfred Casas, the department's shadow theater and puppet teacher. We asked permission to use it in our theater workshop, as we had little time and few tools at our disposal, so I was able to create a character as quickly as possible.

To the neck we attached a fabric in which we had made a hole where the manipulator slipped his hand which became that of the puppet, while the other hand went inside the head to move it.
The character of Narcissus had only a head, a fabric like body and a single arm.

I knew well that the absence of the second arm could be a problem, but I sensed that with a good interpretation and the expressive strength of the character, the viewer would forget, in a few minutes, the absence of the second arm.

And so it was, the fact that a single manipulator was sufficient for the interpretation of the character, gave a great freedom of movement that would not have existed if there had been two manipulators. This, together with the possibility of collecting and moving objects with the real hand, and a good preparation of the students of the 3rd year of the Institute, gave excellent results that can still be seen today in a
video kept by the Institution's library.

That hot summer was starting to show signs of climate change.

We had gone to the Charleville-Mézières at the World Festival, the puppet mecca, to present performances by my company Poèmes Visuals and Anthology.

In those days I was reading Molière's The Miser. I remember we were queuing to enter Espace Rimbaud, to see a show, when I saw that, in the garden surrounding the space, someone had had the great idea of sticking a small wooden sign with a drawn tap into the grassy ground. that protruded from the ground about 10 centimeters.
Since I was not sitting but standing and moving, I imagined a face with a very pronounced nose and a kind of ribbon to adorn the head. I started asking myself questions.
What would happen if the head of Narcissus was replaced by a tap? Could he become a Harpagon, the protagonist of the work I was reading? What would happen if instead of accumulating money, that puppet-tap accumulated water, an increasingly scarce and precious commodity?
Could water ever have the same power as money?
All these questions began to be answered when that same fall I proposed to the members of my company to create a show based on that original idea born in Charleville.

As for the intense and tortuous creative process that will end in 2000, with the premiere at the Festival Internacional de Titelles de Barcelona and shortly after at Titirimundi, we will leave it to another article.

Jordi Bertran
We will talk about Phia Menard ... surely then ... in the Aria issue ...
Tonino Murru  - Is Mascareddas
Cagliari 27 February 2022


I have known Jaqueline's work for many years, she is for me a reference of the art of marionette here in Africa.

I am very grateful to her for this show created in 2002, because it represented a revolutionary work for dance in connection with the puppet in an integrated theater context, a pioneering work that paved the way for many other subsequent creations in this direction.

A beautiful show that speaks of identity and fragility of the body. 

It is a pleasure for me to introduce her to you and get in touch with her.

Janni Younge

Cape Town January 14, 2022

mermaid 2.png

So Jaqueline Dommisse wrote to ANIMATAZINE:

REMIX DANCE PROJECT is South Africa's first integrated dance company. The company has choreographed and performed original contemporary dance works with artists of mixed physical ability. Nicola is an able-bodied dancer and Sudi suffered from polio as a child and uses crutches to walk.

The fable of the siren and the drunks was what could be called an integrated theatrical production. A new direction in contemporary dance and physical theater, where disabled and able-bodied people work together both on and off stage. This production was the Remix Theater Company's first puppet effort.
The production was based on a poem by Pablo Neruda and the focus of the work was the mistreatment of a siren, due to a misunderstanding. Sudi Kapangura and Nicola Visser acted in the production and animated the puppets. 
I have designed and built the puppets of the show and I have called them portrait puppets 

Each of the two puppets was an idealized version, a dream of its animator. Nicola's portrait was the Siren. Nicola is not only a dancer, but also a swimmer. At the time Nicola was the mother of a 3-year-old daughter and pregnant with her first son. Her life was full of commitments and she felt very attached to the land  for the work needs in the management of the Remix Dance Project and her responsibilities for the care of the home and children. Yet early each morning he would walk down to the sea pool near his coastal home to swim. It was only during that short time in the ocean each day that she felt free. Sudi's dream puppet was a puppet that could "walk" without crutches. Sudi had been a refugee from the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo and had traveled on foot on crutches to South Africa. Occasionally he received rides, but he walked many, many miles. Malcolm Black designed and built the puppets for an episode of the opera. 
The main theme we explored in the work was alteration  in the experiences lived by the company. On the one hand, the experiences of a woman invalidated by patriarchal structures, by gender stereotypes, in particular towards pregnant women. On the other hand, the exclusion of people living with disabilities, the experiences of racism and xenophobia. 

"In this production there are moments when the puppets integrate with the dance and ignite the performance. The result is enchanting, proving once again that puppetry is a powerful medium that should not be regarded only as a children's theater.

The production was based on a poem by Pablo Neruda, a Spanish political refugee, and the focus of the work was the mistreatment of a siren, due to a misunderstanding. Sudi Kapangura and Nicola Visser acted in the production and maneuvered the puppets. The two puppets were La Sirena and La Piccola Sudi, both designed and made by Dommisse, using wood and papier-mâché.

One of the most moving moments of the show, says Jacqueline, is when Sudi, who needs crutches to walk, manipulates a duplicate of her into a puppet - and walks!

A Chinese shadow sequence was also incorporated into the show, which was a Central African mermaid story.

As Kapangura told the story, the puppets were maneuvered by Visser behind a makeshift screen on an overturned table. Wheelchair dancer Malcolm Black, founder of the Remix Dance Project and self-taught artist, designed and created the Chinese shadows with the help of Dommisse
". (Extract from ZUANDA BADENHORST's dissertation on the South African puppet)
The fable of the mermaid and the drunks -  Remix Dance Project Company
Directed by Jaqueline Dommisse / Dancers / Puppet players: Nicola Visser & Sudi Kapangura / Choreography: conceived by the cast, by Nicola Visser / Text: conceived by the cast, curated by Jaqueline Dommisse / Puppet design and construction: Jaqueline Dommisse and Malcolm Black / Puppet swing design: Jill Joubert / Scenography: Jaqueline Dommisse and Nicola Visser / Lighting design: Paul Abrams / Sound recording and mixing: Tony Groenewald / Music: Arvot Pärt, Tabula Rasa / Poetry: Pablo Neruda, La favola della sirena and drunkards. Photographer Sean Wilson.


Enzo Del Re is a wonderful character who wrote this song called YES NA DROP.

A song that says you are a drop in a sea, in a sea of people, you are a drop and  you are also the sea.

A protagonist of Apulian popular music and movements of the 70s.

A storyteller who played on a chair and accompanied himself by beating this chair, his body. An incredible voice, a poet. 


The first thing that came to my mind is that these three characters Water, Fire, Wind, are in the famous closet, put there  from mom  a century ago,  so they are characters  which she cared a lot about.
I started looking and I saw photos of other puppets, who in a certain way remembered them, leafing through the years from 1941 onwards I came to 1945 and I reasoned that they had to be the characters of the Russian fairy tale,  The sad story of the half cock , with music  by Lidia Ivanova.
Broadly speaking, it is the story of a handsome and enterprising cockerel, who disobeys his mother who orders him not to leave the chicken coop, and decides to explore the world.
So he starts and walks, arrives tired and hungry, in front of a restaurant, where the cook sees him, grabs him and throws him into a pot to make a good broth.
(Brrr ... I say)
But because of the many things to do, the cook forgets the broth and when he remembers it, the cockerel ran out of water and burned everything and turned black as coal.
The Cook, not being able to do anything else, slips it into a piece of iron and puts it as a weather vane, sign of the shop and the wind blowing strong makes it turn here and there.  

The first performance was in Moriano, in Tuscany, the show was held in the town square in front of the church and liked  a lot, so when my mother returned the following year, she heard that in the fields the peasants were singing the songs of the half cock.


Tarjei Vesaas
Translated from Norwegian by Jean Baptiste Coursaud
Published by Babel

Chapter 7

The building collapses

No one can witness this moment: when the ice palace collapses. It happens at night, after all the children have gone to bed.
No one is involved to the point of participating. A wave of soundless chaos certainly shakes the air in distant bedrooms, but no one is awake, no one can ask: what is it?
Nobody knows.
And so the palace collapses into the waterfall, with its secrets. It thunders - then there is nothing left.
Everything breaks under the pressure of the water and collapses into a white foam spat out by the waterfall. Huge blocks hit each other and into each other - they hit each other to break even more. The entire palace has disappeared from the face of the earth.
In great haste the masses are pushing; they soon disperse from one side to the other, before anyone has even woken up. With its small edges emerging from the surface, the exploded ice will float, sail, and then melt and no longer exist.

Tarjei Vesaas
Translated by Régis Boyer
Published by José Corti, 2002

Excerpt from A quiet river slips out of the background

How is silence when it is so great that 
can't we understand it? When he slipped 
Out of its place and feels heavier than lightning. 

It's just someone who sails out of the 
forests. Maybe it's not that important. 
It settles quietly and forcefully.

The bright river at rest flows out with 
with everything that belongs to him. It came like 
from afar - and delivers what is most intimate. 
Traveling to a distant sea.

What is part of the trip? 
Desire that has subsided. 
Nothing else. 
The water slips, slips.

It doesn't make much noise. 
But the landscape that lives next door cannot avoid
from being marked by this journey.

The brightest water from the most intimate 
A new sparkling water will come next. 
Everything is at rest. A restful journey that doesn't seem like it
to be able to stop or cease.

And it leads to the sea. 
Slide out of its frame towards 
the vast distant sea.


Conch Shells are large shells that produce - with the water they contain - sounds of a percussive nature when rotated.

Their peculiarity is that they prevent the players handling them from exerting any control over the resulting bubbling sound.

John Cage used them in his 1977 piece Inlets.

The performers of the Vanuatu Women's Water Music group hail from the remote northern tropical islands of Vanuatu.

They travel the world performing the Na Mag and Ne Lang dances as a prelude to the mystical water music, dressed in their traditional Gaua and Mere Lava costumes made of flowers and leaves, coconuts and pandanus.

Shinichi Maruyama is a great expert in Liquid Splash, the art of throwing liquids such as ink and water into the air, immortalizing them through special photographic means, in all their unpredictable suggestion.

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