Friday, Feb. 17, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Weis Center

Part of Coal Collections: Local, National, and International Stories

Suggested for ages 10+ 

Pre-Performance Talk with the Creators of El Silencio del Carbón
Thursday, Feb. 16, Noon - 1 p.m.
Weis Center Atrium Lobby

Associate Professor of Spanish Fernando Blanco and puppeteers from Silencio Blanco will discuss coal mining in Chile and puppetry as a means of storytelling.

Silencio Blanco: Chiflón, El Silencio del Carbón

Under the direction of Santiago Tobar, the puppetry ensemble Silencio Blanco is known for working with white marionettes, constructed with a newspaper base, that perform in silence; no dialogue is used and the marionettes do not speak. Human sensations are represented through everyday situations and familiar gesture movements. Bunraku and marionette puppeteers transmit the human movement through the puppet, provoking illusion and suspended belief so that it appears as if even the heartbeat of the characters can be heard.  "Chiflón, el silencio del carbón" or "Chiflón, the silence of coal," is the company's third work and explores the story of a young miner forced to find work in one of the most dangerous mines in Chile after the mine where he worked collapses.

The mining industry has played a crucial role in Chile's history and the company is committed to instigating further thinking and conversation about the troubling conditions in the post-industrial 21st century, which often stay invisible despite strident headlines. Based in part on the story of "El Chiflón del Diablo" by distinguished Chilean author Baldomero Lillo, and site visits to Chilean mining towns over a period of two years, the fruits of this lengthy creative process have resulted in an intimate feast for the eyes and spirit. The highest imagination and modesty in scale conspire to create a greatly accessible and deeply engaging puppet work.

Silencio Blanco: Chiflón, El Silencio del Carbón


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