Home

On the Marionette Theatre

June 2008

"And what is the advantage your puppets would have over living dancers?"

"The advantage? First of all a negative one, my friend: it would never be guilty of affectation. For affectation is seen, as you know, when the soul, or moving force, appears at some point other than the centre of gravity of the movement. Because the operator controls with his wire or thread only this centre, the attached limbs are just what they should be.… lifeless, pure pendulums, governed only by the law of gravity. This is an excellent quality. You'll look for it in vain in most of our dancers."

— Heinrich von Kleist, On the Marionette Theatre

This 1810 essay (complete with a fencing bear and Eden's tree of knowledge) was one of the influences of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.