Only drunks and puppets tell the truth
Ever since the introduction of puppets in “Masculine Mysteries” in 1996 with JSK, co-produced by Tanzwoche Dresden, BIT-Teatergarasjen, and Dansens Hus, Stockholm, Jo Strømgren has this taken this autonomous art form seriously. Elements of puppetry, normally a non-human figure taking the main role of a show, was evident in “Alexie” with Ballet de l’Opera National du Rhin, “Grinebiteren” with Carte Blanche Dance Company, and “A Dance Tribute to Ping Pong” and “Ten Years Later” with JSK. The main chunk of Jo Strømgren’s puppetry work has however been hardcore puppet theatre, with our without the visual inclusion of humans. He has worked with the two national puppet theatre ensembles in Norway, Riksteatret and Oslo Nye Teater, on “Gorri-Gorri”, “Around the World in 80 minutes” and “Oslo-Losen’s Time Machine”. The latter two productions featured the classic proscenium puppet theatre. A long term collaboration with Ulrike Quade in Amsterdam has resulted in 3 productions with world wide distribution: “The Writer”, “The Painters”, and “Coco Chanel”. The latter is now also in the repertory of Bühnen Halle, the largest puppet theatre ensemble in Germany. A fourth collaboration with Quade is under planning, a dramatisation of Lorca’s “Yerma”. Quade and Strømgren have developed a peculiar style with realistic figures and scrutinies of historical characters and events and has achieved numerous awards. Apart from this, Jo Strømgren has managed to add figures into many other shows, leaning on the logic and the traditions of puppet theatre.