With the exception of War Horse, which I was lucky enough to watch twice, I have had to admire the work of Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones from afar. From Ubu and the Truth Commission to Woyzeck on the Highveld and Life and Times of Michael K, I have been limited to photographs and recordings of the remarkable creations produced by Jones and Kohler’s Handspring Puppet Company. Images and videos convey something of their haunting quality but are no substitute for proximity to the person-animal-objects themselves, especially as they come alive in the theatre.

Tracking Handspring’s Little Amal, a 3.5m tall puppet of a young refugee, as she walked about 8,000km from the Turkey/Syria border to the UK in recent months, heightened this sense of displacement — of separation in space and time. But I guess that’s our default mode nowadays: watching things happen elsewhere, overhearing conversations in distant rooms. Life playing out on a screen. ..

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