figuren theater tübingen

salto.lamento

„Send in the clowns – and skeletons“

Frank Soehnle, who co-founded Figurentheater Tübingen in 1991, likens this German company's
productions to “visual poems”. The description certainly fits Salto.Lamento, a delicate danse macabre
between him and a gallery of skeletal puppets of varying sizes. The latter are cleverly concealed about
a set that is an artful arrangement of hanging fabric, matching gilded luggage and instruments jauntily
played by rat'n'X, the joint name of the musicians Johannes Frisch and Stefan Martin.
Soehnle is the chief attendant in this elegant chamber landscape of the dead, manipulating with a
masterfully light touch a range of bony, etiolated creatures formerly human or animal. Sprinkled with
melody and magic, the result is a tickling, slightly chilling reminder of the transience of life.
THE TIMES, 13/01/09

„Death laughs last in an eerie danse macabre“

The piece is often absurdly, almost ridiculously beautiful. It transports you to a netherworld, a strange
unsettling place that appears to represent the room of the mind and then rifles through the dusty
closets and drawers of memory-raising spectres, both scary and surprisingly funny. The piece
operates as a series of apparitions and revelations in which masks are removed and
transformations occur until you really can see the skull beneath the skin.

It is choreographed to the dreamy and sometimes jaunty live accompaniment of musicians
Johannes Frisch and Stefan Mertin, and the company prove themselves expert at sleight
of hand - like mediums at a seance, Figurentheater Tübingen can summon an eerie
world that sits life and death side by side and allows them to embrace.
THE GUARDIAN, 13/01/09

The skill of chief puppeteer Frank Soehnle is second-to-none.
The way he maipulates his charges is so outstanding that even in repose
they seem somehow alive. The tiny beckoning claw-like hands are frightingly
realistic and the silent, expressive faces speak volumes. The result is a kind
of Fantasia for grown-up goths, with Beelzebub on lead vocals.
The stuff of nightmares perhaps but lovely nightmares. A visually arresting,
witty and hauntingly beautiful spectacle.
THE STANDARD, 12/01/09

This surreal kaleidoscope is a wordless, weightless dance upon graves. A suggestive meditation on the metamorphosis of the perishable. A poetic spell.

( ..... ) The interaction between musicians and figures gave the viewers repeated opportunity for spontaneous comic relief. But also the disturbing effect of the occasional shocking moment was soothed by the calming presence of the two musicians. Spellbound, breathless, fascinated, the audience followed the magnificently poetic conjuring of the dead.
Schwäbisches Tagblatt 9/12/06
Swabian Daily Newspaper, 9th Dec. 2006 

Soehnle deftly charms his expressively masked and costumed figures, hand puppets and marionettes into appearing as if from nowhere whilst simultaneously waking them from their deathly stillness to be galvanised into dance. Many of his figures show not only their comic side but also have a cloaked surprise to reveal, and each and every one of them possesses such a strongly characteristic personality that the audience is often totally unaware of the presence of either puppeteer or musicians.
A petite but exquisite dance revue of a most distinctive kind.
Reutlinger Nachrichten 9/12/06
Reutlingen News, 9th Dec. 2006


It is particularly the play upon and toying with suggestion that lends the evening its fascination. Visual impressions fuse seamlessly with sounds and merge into the light effects created by Karin Ersching. Seamlessly, Karin Ould Chin’s choreography fuses players with puppets and puppets with players. Impression evolves from impression, image merges into image, connections are hinted at and then re-veiled and ever-new boxes repeatedly reveal novel figures and fresh surprises.
SALTO.LAMENTO leads us to a morbid, in-between realm. Whilst ruin sneers at us from the very hub of life and death seems to have gained the upper hand, new life claws its way from the ashes. Finally, much applause and many ‘bravos’ for an evening of puppeteering into which the audience is truly drawn.
Reutlinger Generalanzeiger 9/12/06
Reutlingen Daily Newspaper, 9th. Dec. 2006