ATHENS – “Puppet players are like a human orchestra,” says Mairivi Georgiadou, owner of Mairivi Workshop in central Athens, speaking at Athens-Macedonian news Agency.
“They don’t only make the puppets come alive but also make the dolls themselves, turn the music and the lights on and off,” she continues.
Georgiadou is the owner of Mairivi workshop in Metaxourgeio, where, ever since a month the Athenian public may admire the first permanent exhibition of puppets in Greece.
On display are dolls from Africa, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Switzerland, Italy, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, while visitors have the opportunity to hear stories from the shows in which the dolls appeared using a headset. There are also shadow puppets from Malaysian, Indonesian as well as Greek shadow theatre.
The history of puppet theatre is many centuries old, Georgiadou says. In Greece, there are two major figures: Karagkiozis, who arrived to Greece via Turkey; and Fassoulis, a universal character encountered by many names around the world (Kasper, Pulcinella, Punch, etc.).
Until the 1950s puppet theatre was mainly addressed to adults. In other countries this is often still the case, Georgiadou explains, but in Greece people are used to associating puppetry with children. One of the aims of the exhibition is precisely to change this perception, she continues, by approaching the art form in a way that can interest every age.
Georgiadou has been working in the Metaxourgeio space for over 20 years. For this exhibition, she worked together with a group of students from the Department of Communication, Media and Culture from Panteion University.
In the same building there are also two stages, one of which is considered the best for puppet theatre in Greece on account of its dimensions. Currently, Mairivi workshop is hosting the 6th International Festival of Puppetry and Narration, where puppet players and storytellers from around the world organize workshops and put on shows for children and adults.