Titeres de Francisco Peralta

While I was visiting Segovia, Spain, I stumbled upon the Coleccion de Titeres de Francisco Peralta, tucked away in the upper floors of the Puerto de Santiago. Of course, it was closed the day I stumbled upon it, but I wandered back the next day when it was open. The museum houses puppets from Peralta’s career, so you see the various types of puppets that he built. The puppets, themselves, were complex. Complex creations in their design and making, but also in their emotions and stories. The skill, craftmanship, selection of materials, interpretation, fabrics, and clothing styles – the puppets really seemed to come to life as I looked at (watched?) them while listening to the pre-recorded audio tour.

I really loved that Peralta used stories from adult books, musicals, & operas, rather than the typical children’s fare. His puppets told stories for adults – you could imagine them running around the museum whispering in each other’s ear, gossiping, stealing a kiss, or crying out their sufferings and woes. I had given puppets very little thought beyond my childhood as I had moved on to more adult themes, stories, crafts, and work. In today’s world, we have relegated imagination to the domain of children (or maybe we have lost it entirely), and superseded it with extreme realism (in the form of explicit violence in TV shows and movies) for adults. The days of cutely hinted at violence as seen in old TV shows like “Get Smart” are long gone. And puppet shows for adults don’t exist.

After I returned home from my trip, I bought a book providing construction and design information for making puppets/marionettes, and I continue to fantasize about making one or two. Since I moved to Arizona, I now have access to woodworking tools and space. My Dad does wood-turning, and my Mom was a quilter. I have a fascination with mechanical things – and have done a little sewing, painting, wood-working, and scale model-making. Making string marionettes would be a the ultimate fusion of these crafts and talents.

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