Behind every puppet is a story: Refugee women put on a puppet theatre in the summer project of the KOMM initiative of the protestant parish of Heckinghausen in cooperation with SkF e.V. Bergisch Land.
How do you carve a confident, quiet smile on a puppet’s face? Maha looks somewhat perplexed into the round of about twenty women who are all sitting around a large work table in front of their puppet heads. Finally, she asks puppet maker Markus Heip for help. “Now we get to the emotions,” he enthuses. “Carving them into the face is not so easy. That’s where we work with wrinkles. The bigger they are, the happier your puppet will be.”
So Maha works on many small wrinkles, which are also visible in her face. “My puppet is a strong woman who has built a self-determined life in a foreign country,” explains the 42-year-old Palestinian.
Other dolls created in the summer project of the refugee initiative KOMM in the Heckinghausen district meeting place “Krawatte” symbolise dreams, wishes or even family traditions. A clown who reminds of the funny grandfather back home, a princess who is allowed to rest and be pampered, a flower woman who shares the fruits of her garden with everyone.
A lot of work until the puppets dance
The women from the Durchsholz Marionette and Puppet Theatre have spent a week shaping, sewing and building their marionettes under the guidance of Remscheid marionette maker Markus Heip. But it will probably be autumn before they can make the puppets dance.