Heart Puppetations by Miriam Drysdale, which plays at the Toronto Fringe Festival through July 11th, 2015, is a sort of Pygmalion tale with puppets, that plays with the idea of a man creating a puppet to be his perfect girlfriend, but whose plans are spoiled when she comes to life and has her own personality.
There is certainly the potential for a Pygmalion puppet play, but Heart Puppetations struggles to find its voice and to make its point clearly and in a way that resonates for a contemporary, adult, audience. The biggest difficulty that Drysdale’s writing encounters is that the play struggles to find its genre, is it supposed to be a satire, or is it trying to be a comic play or is it supposed to be a parody of Pygmalion? It sort of oscillates gently between all three of these, creating a vague muddle, that leaves the audience with three unlikeable characters in a contrived scenario without stakes and no reason to care about the outcome.
Sandy is twenty-nine years old, he is introverted, has a passion for puppets and is naive beyond suspension of disbelief. He breaks up with his girlfriend, a relationship that defies all realism, and suddenly is granted the wish of bringing his puppet to life. She is only able to speak to him, for reasons never explained, and immediately decides she hates him and everything about her life, the moment she comes to life, yet he, a human, is still obsessed with making her, a puppet made of felt that only has a body above the waist, his girlfriend. The plot holes and choices that don’t make sense here undermine Drysdale’s characters and the world that she has created for them, robbing them of the sense of stakes that is needed to build a truly captivating story
TWISI FRINGE RATING:
Heart Puppetations plays at the Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst Street) as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival at the following times:
July 08 at 07:00 PM buy tickets
July 10 at 01:45 PM buy tickets
July 11 at 09:15 PM buy tickets