Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weekly Life - Sara Fitz­patrick

EV­ERY child has picked up a card­board box and turned it into a car or a cas­tle.

Us­ing pa­per, sim­plic­ity and plenty of imag­i­na­tion, Spare Parts Pup­pet The­atre pro­duc­tion Hachiko will tickle young minds.

Telling the true story of a faith­ful dog and his mas­ter, it ap­plies Ja­panese-in­spired pa­per craft pup­petry to bring its char­ac­ters to life.

“This form of pup­petry is not tra­di­tional,” pup­peteer Jes­sica Har­lond-kenny said.

“Some peo­ple will come and may be con­fused and think there is no pup­petry in this at all but there is – it’s very heav­ily loaded with pup­petry but it’s not your strings and nor­mal pup­pets.

“The big­gest chal­lenge is that it’s all pa­per so it rips – we’re gen­tle with it and there are a few lit­tle cheats, a few lit­tle tricks of the trade, where it looks as though it’s card­board but some of the heav­ier ones ac­tu­ally aren’t.”

Har­lond-kenny said she dis­cov­ered pup­petry while study­ing per­for­mance at ECU.

“I thought, ‘I don’t re­ally want to be a pup­peteer but I’ll try and let’s see what hap­pens’,” she said.

“I ap­plied (for the Spare Parts Pup­pet The­atre course) and have never looked back. I love it – it’s an in­cred­i­ble art form.”

Har­lond-kenny last per­formed Hachiko three years ago and is thrilled to be back shar­ing the nar­ra­tive of a faith­ful akita who waits for his de­ceased mas­ter ev­ery day at a Tokyo train sta­tion for nine years.

“It does deal with a heavy topic but it’s a heavy topic that is im­por­tant for chil­dren so they can have some sort of con­text to draw from,” she said.

“It’s an im­por­tant story of loy­alty, friend­ship and re­silience – we don’t fo­cus on dark­ness, we fo­cus on the light­ness of this work.”

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son­mu­ni­ d466976

Pup­peteer Jes­sica Har­lond-kenny in Hachiko.

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