Union Internationale de la Marionnette

Non-Governmental Organization affiliated to UNESCO

World Puppetry Day 2024: the Climate.

Last updated: 27-09-2023

In truth very exact and not by metaphor,
We are puppets whose sky is the showman:
On the theatre of time we make three little turns,
Then fall back one by one into the box of nothingness.

Rubayat, Omar Khayam


This theme suggests several dimensions, all of which are essential for the manifestation of life, and even more so for the manifestation of the living. This meteorological dimension reveals much more about the elements of time, material time, the time of the cycle of things and of nature, of ages and epochs, and even of periods on a greater or lesser scale. Rhythm is never far from the body, music is never far from silence. The elements imprint themselves on us in this inscription of the trace. Nature is itself a self-renewing creation, but it is also constantly under threat, because time can be both an illusion and a source. Time shifts, time breaks, time dries up. Even in the desert, life returns to the soil.  The living hides only to appear at the most propitious moment to restart the circle and the slightly mad wheel of the day – movement is the desire for gesture. Should we become insects, moles, reptiles, birds and even mammals?    


How can we think of the oceans (World Puppetry Day in 2021) and forests (World Puppetry Day in 2023) without this dimension of the weather, how can we think of bad weather, climatic catastrophes, hurricanes, fires and droughts, how can we give an image of what appears to be an elementary condition? Heat and cold, planetary gravitation, daylight, or simply the sweet music of the elements and the most random, hazardous probability. There’s a moment when everything is played out and everything begins, that moment of beginning and genesis that gives meaning to the gesture and spectacle of Nature. Significance is never so close to the rawest material, as matter awakens to what lies beyond it. The cycle gives free rein to compositions, gestures and sequences that are often the same, but never identical. Are human beings merely puppets on a stage beyond our understanding? Is history nothing more than a mechanism whose meaning eludes us or that we wish we could always determine, because the abyss has been lurking around us since the beginning?   


We’re at the edge of the irreversible. What happens when the master no longer masters the conditions of his mastery? What happens when reality is no more than a hope? Each day reflects the image of eternity in a fragile mirror. Theater only makes sense because it is always metaphysical, and never really is. Humanity is but a perfectible fragility, part of multiple cycles until we believe that there will always be this ritornello, and that the world will always have a tomorrow. Contradiction is passage, but can we always save it, and can we always get through it? Is the worst ever certain? Is man perhaps just a spider weaving a web that will one day freeze in a winter too cold for him to withstand? Theater is music, especially puppet theater, which plays a wide variety of instruments.


Let’s think about the future, our future, our children’s future! Let’s create to understand and invent the links with our future. The theme of “climate” is a multiple theme that discovers, a theme that composes the Four Seasons, a theme that dances and plays with all materials and forms, a theme that opens up the imagination of today, of the body, music and all the elements that make us suffer, but that we can also marvel at a generous nature.  Let’s create our future with the art of puppetry!     


Dimitri Jageneau
Secretary General of UNIMA International