The Third Hand

In the project Third Hand, Handa Gote return to puppet theatre and follow the trail of their own production Sapphire Head, which was a reconstruction of a forgotten puppet project from the 1990s. Now Handa Gote continue their reconstruction efforts, this time with a genre that may not have been a genre at all and probably never existed in the first place.

It is an exploration of the specific visuality of experimental puppetry of the 1990s and an attempt to revive this forgotten micro-genre of surrealist puppet theatre. It is inspired mainly by Petr Nikl’s experiments with Mehedaha Theatre, the puppetry of František Skála, the BKS group, Čestmír Suška, Petr Šoch or Milan Grygar. One of the inspirations is also the enduring czech puppet legend – the production of Piškanderdulá and through it also the tradition of variété puppet performances, the tradition of “alternative” puppet aesthetics represented for example by puppets of Paul Klee and the work of many Art Brut artists.

This is another of the group’s works concerning puppet theatre for adults and the search for its roots and inspirations in the avant-garde and visionaries, but also from amateurs and artists of other genres who were only experimenting with puppets. The Third Hand creates a kind of puppet microcosm that can be entered from different sides and which offers no story, but instead small fragments of stories, situations and images, open to the viewer’s interpretation. Here, Handa Gote work with a multitude of energetically charged objects, often found under strange circumstances or from ancestral possessions, and compose these power objects into many absurd situations and unexpected compositions. The aesthetics of Vietnamese marketplaces, Chinese shophouses, the visuality of Mexican altars and Day of the Dead festivities, or the Japanese mobile theatre kamishibai and stage technology dogugaeshi, have all been artistic inspirations. The sound component is influenced by the activity of Handa Gote members in the experimental music scene – it is inspired by experimental turntablism and working with sound objects, and Handa Gote are here in a way continuing their first project Noise from 2005. The band collaborated with an artist working under the kosmo_nauty label. The musical component consists of two gramophones and a random selection of old gramophone records.

Devised: Švábová, kosmo_nauty, Dörner, Procházka
Photo: Martin Špelda

Premiere: 4. 11. 2023, Alfred ve dvoře, Praha