Bellybutton

A woman, a man…and a baby on the way.
It all begins with a tiny being in the vast uterine world, like the dawn of humanity being constantly recreated. With the help of the umbilical snake, baby witnesses first hand the vital struggles of its shrimp-shaped heart, its jellyfish lungs and its inner dragon. At last, the greatmoment of birth arrives. Baby’s bodymust “outfit” itself to live outsidemother’s womb. Baby’s senses are on full alert. This is the beginning of a long journey towards self-reliance. However, the inner dragon that mirrors its passions and craves seems to influence its natural rhythm, even upsetting it. Baby will have to harness the dragon to regain its inner balance. There is Baby, standing up already, almost…walking

The Puppets

We chose to explore these worlds in depth using three mediums: body, shadow and table puppets.

Body Puppets

Seeing Inside Daddy’s or Mommy’s Tummy…
In this part, the top half (torso and stomach) of the actors playing the father and the mother is like a small portable shadow-puppet theatre. The bodies are oversized and lit from the inside so the performers can work the shadow puppets. Furthermore, the mother’s tummy is stretchable, which helps recreate the inner movements of the fœtus. The puppet bodies offer various possibilities to portray emotions and sensations experienced by the parents.

Coloured… Shadow Puppets

Going into the uterine and imaginary world of the yet-to-be-born baby…
The coloured shadow puppets are made up of acrylic plastic (Plexiglas) that is cut and painted with stained-glass paint or coloured with stage-lighting gels. As a result, the projected shadow is not black but coloured with various textures. In addition, projections through stained glass allow us to create luminous aquatic atmospheres. Thin rods and strings that provide greater fluidity of movement are used to work the shadow puppets.

Table Puppets

Depicting the Development of Emotions…
This style of theatre features small-size puppets and puppeteers work in full view on a small table. Each of the baby’s body parts is a puppet in itself with all the emotions it can convey: the legs dance, the fists hit, the navel screams “Me! Me! Me!” In the end, the baby is put together, ready to live outside mother’s womb.

Putting into Action a Fascinating Machine: the Human Body…
Using the pinball machine as a basic concept, we built a huge inner body in which puppeteers can give life to the inner struggles of the human body. They work both objects and small puppets to depict the inner gurgling sounds, impulses and struggles.

Photos: Robert Etcheverry 

Team

  • Original Idea : Jean Cummings and Hélène Ducharme
  • Playwright : Hélène Ducharme
  • Director : Sylvain Massé
  • Assistant to the director : Manon Arsenault
  • Performers : Hélène DucharmeJean Cummings ou Sylvain Massé
  • Puppeteering Coach : Marthe Adam
  • Dramaturg : Serge Marois
  • Set and Puppet Designer : Jean Cummings
  • Composer : Michel Montreuil
  • Lighting Designer : Nicolas Descôteaux, Michel St-Amand
  • Workshop Director : Sylvain Racine
  • Puppet Making : Jean Cummings, Sylvain Racine et Claude Rodrigue
  • Costume Making : Éliane Fayad
  • Set Building : ACME services scéniques
  • Pupetters : Sylvain Gagnon et Hélène Ducharme

For children 3 and up
This show is available