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Puppetteer meeting in Port-au-Prince

Haiti’s capital is a nearly one million people city that lies between the sea and the mountain. It’s impressive to rise the eyes and see the neighbourhoods spreading in the heights, where families lives in a labyrinth of shacks, stairs and small trails that you can only reach by foot. There’s no running water, neither black water canalisation system and the electricity depends on the unreliable EDH (that is working, in contrast, very well, since the Football World Cup started).

In Carrefour Feuilles, a neighbourhood alike those just described, we shared three days of shooting with Lintho Casimir, a young 30 years old puppeteer disciple of Ernst Saintrome, with which we will complete the chapter about Haitian marionettists. We visited his former atelier, destroyed by the 2010 earthquake, and we meet some of the youngsters that are learning puppetring with him.

marionetas gigantes en Carrefour FeuillesWe also lived a magical and unforgettable day with Lintho. He assembled two giant marionettes with the help of his friends. Amazingly enough, Lintho learned the art of building them during a stage with Les Grandes Personnes d’Aubervilliers, that we meet one year ago in Boromo, Burkina Faso.

Once assembled, they improvised a parade through the streets of Carrefour Feuilles. The people of the neighbourhood popped up from everywhere, the smiles shined in all their faces, the giant puppets danced among happy children.

We refuged from the sun in a house in construction. The rhythms of voodoo drums, five choirs-dancers and the “oungan” singer of the group Racine La Rivière welcomed us and honoured the “lwa” or spirits with their music. Then we played our show and, afterwards, the drums were played again and this time the marionettes and ourselves also took part in the dancing.

0P7A3594-2We have also filmed Lintho during a workshop, in a small library, with children of the neighbourhood in which they built some puppet heads with “papier maché”. We also performed there for them. Finally, we saw a repetition of a new hand puppet show that Lintho is preparing with some colleagues.