Beijing Taihu Festival about
Rusty Nails

Review Taihu International Puppetfestival Beijing 2019:  Rusty Nails & Other Heroes
https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/ATinpaLpOiNAR6wgW5N3hg  Translation by Weng Yu Shing

During the Beijing Taihu International Puppet Festival, which was held in the Chinese capital in October 2019, TAMTAM Objektentheater played a show using old nails, trash pieces of plastic and metal, crumpled paper and old cloth. It is magical to experience how as a spectator you recycled waste. are taken to a world of Bringing the rusty nails and other apparently worthless material to life is the way in which the two theater makers shape their creative ideas.
Not only the inspiration with which the performance is played is astoni shing, but also the nurturing and compassionate attitude of the players towards every small object present that is used during play. In the show, entitled “Rusty Nails & Other Heroes”, a large number of discarded objects become the main characters in the play. For example, two nails fall in love with each other and a group of work gloves assault a glove that does not belong to the group.
The most inconspicuous trash of everyday life gets human qualities and feelings in the hands of the two artists. The aud ience no longer sees rusty nails, crams of newspaper, pieces of cardboard or other waste on the projection wall, but figures with lively expressions, feelings and emotions, such as love, hate, humor, sadness and ecstasy, and the talent of the two artists u nfolds a world full of poetry and animation on the screen.

The audience completely forgets that, before the start of the show, the disposable items awakened by the players were still garbage, taken from the street and plucked from the gutter. The leader of TAMTAM Objektentheater says that the concept that they want to convey consists of the fact that even the smallest piece of waste has value.
With this performance, the cold and distant feelings that people have for waste are converted into those of warm th and tenderness. The show is a combination of an animation film and the production process of this film. Both components are visible at the same time. It can be seen as a crossover performance consisting of theater, world art and animation film. A proje ctor and projection screen, a sound reproduction system and a worktable are the most important technical tools to realise the show.

The ingenious design of the worktable ensures that it can be maneuvered and moved. A professional 4K camera hangs above it, so that the recordings of what is happening at the table are of high quality, and the projection screen shows what the two players are playing at the worktable. From the point of view of the screen projection effect, “Rusty Nails & Other Heroes” is an an imated film of a live performance, aiming for high film quality and spectacular and dynamic visual effects. And although this is waste, the making process at the worktable is nice to watch. The smart use of old cloth on the display stand supports the scene s played with the nails. The nails and other heroes are the figures in this piece with clear traces of a contemporary life. The idea of using used objects and materials actually comes from the phenomenon that children are able to see objects as friends the y can play with.

The artists see the waste as a starting point, develop a rich imagination and process it into an image of many different poses. The various angles and bends of the nails are used professionally to express feelings of happiness or sadness and the different positions of the work gloves show strength and weakness.
The humorous atmosphere and modernity make the performance extraordinarily strong. They looking old trash gets a second, contemporary life through reuse that can be followed by the viewer b at the actors on the worktable and the cinematic images on the projection screen.

However, the projected images are not an animation film in the traditional sense of the word, but they support and emphasize the actions at the worktable. The artis ts believe that it is of great importance in their performances that the audience see the specific content of the performance as well as the entire production process. They do not even bypass the possible errors that occur during the performance, such as a sudden failure of the projector or a nail that falls to the ground and is no longer found. These unexpected “hitches” are very easily and fluently made part of the performance and in this way the artists actually get very close to the core of theater. Music and sounds support the show and one of the artists sometimes accompanies the scenes on the guitar. The performance is the sum of visual theater, puppetry, art, music and video art.

No existing spoken language is needed to stimulate and activate all th TAMTAM Objektentheater is a visual twoe senses of the audience. headed theater company that tours around the world with their performances. To date, they have performed in 34 countries, including now China. This year TAMTAM is 40 years old and this will b e celebrated in November 2019. “Rusty Nails & Other Heroes” shows a number of scenes that review many feelings and emotions from daily life.

The director said that these feelings and emotions are easier for children to understand because they can easily provide human and animal qualities with the help of their fantasy objects and objects. With this explanation we can broadly understand that the choice to use simple waste material in the performance has nothing to do with the environmental issue. The essen ce of the power lies in the human feelings of the makers who return to the true core of life with their show.