A Dark side to Punch?

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A Dark side to Punch?

Postby Chris » 03 Jul 2011, 18:42

At a School Fun Day event at the weekend I was approached by a parent after the show. I had spoken to his young children but, although they had been rolling about with laughter during the show, they appeared to have little knowledge of English. The father's English was also limited but we managed to have quite a nice chat. He was Italian. He was thanking me for the show, but appeared not to know of the link of Punch with Pulccinella. He was, however, very knowledgeable about Pulccinella for as soon as I mentioned the name he identified him with Naples. His knowledge was not just of the puppet character, but also of the Commedia character, and also of the mask. As far as I understood him he was trying to tell me how it was much more than a puppet, much more than a comic character in a play, that the mask and the idea was a thing of magic and power, something old and dark which came out at carnival time, something tying in with race memories of pagan beliefs, of Roman and pre-Roman mysticism.

It was all quite fascinating, although frustrating - partly due to the language barrier and partly to the fact that he had an adventurous four year old who kept disappearing and Dad had to go chasing. I would have loved to learn more.
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