Wednesday, February 9
When I was little my Mom had a secret weapon when it came to making me listen. If I was being particularly precocious and stubborn she'd slip a certain gentleman over her hand and I would melt in the face of my very first love: Kasperle.
Kasperl is the German equivalent to Mister Punch. This wooden Kasperle above is an original Hohensteiner puppet. Max Jacob's Hohnsteiner Kasper, the style of Kasperl Theatre recognized in the German speaking area today, differs from earlier forms of Punch and Judy shows in that the Hohensteiner Kasperl's stories were moral tales. Where earlier incarnations of Punch would go about beating Judy and the police man and generally acting like a man on a rampage, the Kasperle I fell in love with knew good from bad.
You could root for Kasperle (and holler when once again he didn't realize the Baddy was right behind him!) and if my wooden Love attached to Mom's arm told me I bloody well listened.
My Grandma used to live in Hohenstein and during the war she would spend her spare time playing for the wounded. Later she worked in the troupe's workshop painting the puppets' wooden faces.
In all I have three Hohensteiner puppets. There is Kasperle who lives on my bookshelf while Grandma and the Witch call Austria their home. They're at my parents place :)
All three were my Dad's before me. In fact, the first of the two images below was taken the day he was given the puppets. :)
I took the below photo as part of the series Dark Territory some years ago. You get a full view of our man in it: