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2007 Media Release - 10 Days on Earth

Issued Monday, 15 January 2007


15 February – 3 March

…the smallest actors in the world will pull your heart strings…..

10 Days on Earth is rich with complex emotion and yet simple enough to tug at your heart.” Edmonton Sun

“Burkett manipulates his marionettes in ways that not only amaze but actually make you think about the meaning of life” The Guardian, London

“Burkett has made his little puppets miraculous vessels for immense adult themes."
The Globe and Mail, Toronto

Sydney Opera House is delighted to present the internationally acclaimed Canadian theatre artist Ronnie Burkett and his extraordinary Theatre of Marionettes. For the first time, Sydneysiders will be able to experience the nimble artistry and fantasy making of this genius from 15 February – 3 March in the Playhouse.

One of Canada’s living legends, Ronnie Burkett produces some of the world’s most elaborate and provocative puppetry and in doing so, has created an unprecedented adult audience for puppet theatre. This one man virtuoso of breathtaking skill, writes and performs singular works in which he also displays his talents as an actor, physical performer, singer and visual artist.

Burkett has twice taken the Melbourne Festival by storm, and now he returns to Australia with the tender and heart-breakingly beautiful, 10 Days on Earth.

In this production, Burkett presents us with Darrell, a simple, middle-aged adult who lives with his elderly single mum. One day she retreats into her room, closes the door and dies. Darrell does not understand and continues for 10 days talking to her through the door, mourning the loss of the rituals and routines that have governed his life.

Told with sensitivity and insight, this funny, unapologetic story celebrates a mother’s love for her son in all its honesty and fierce, unwavering will. The desire for love, companionship, acceptance and a place to call home all echo in this tale.

The joy of watching Burkett is in the way he lets the seams of his magic-making show. His mastery of marionettes and his vocal gymnastics create the illusion of an epic. With nimble hands flashing as he manipulates the strings, he reveals himself to be a showman in the true sense of the word. Because of his superb technique – Burkett seems to transmit his own life force into the marionettes.

Captivated by puppetry since the age of seven, Burkett received a puppetry scholarship to Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City at fourteen, after which the single minded teen began touring his own puppet shows.

Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes was formed in 1986, dedicated to returning the puppet to the legitimate stage in theatre for adults. The company's first work was Fool's Edge, followed by Virtue Falls, The Punch Club and Awful Manors, all satirical and bawdy works aimed at an adult audience. In 1994, Burkett became an international star with the Theatre of Marionettes production of Tinka's New Dress.

Burkett has earned numerous theatre awards in Canada and internationally - the 2003 Herbert Whittaker Drama Bench Award for Outstanding Contribution to Canadian Theatre, the 1998 Freedom of Expression Award from Calgary’s Wordfest Writer’s Festival and the 2001 President's Award from The Puppeteers of America, the highest honour in American puppetry. In 1999, Tinka and Burkett received a special citation at the Obie (Off-Broadway) Awards.

Mixing the personal and political, Burkett’s Theatre of Marionettes continuously performs to great critical and public acclaim on Canada’s major stages and as a guest company at international theatre festivals.

Exploring the line between art and life, his offbeat wit and visual charm plumb the highs and lows of the human experience, creating an exotic stage universe of humanity and compassion.

Season Details
15 February – 3 March
Venue: Playhouse
Times: Tues, 6.30pm; Wed to Sat, 8pm; Sun 5pm
Tickets: $48 / $38
Post Show Artists Talk: Tues 29 February

10 Days On Earth was co-commissioned by: The Canadian Stage Company (Toronto, Canada), Barbican BITE:07 (London, UK), queerupnorth (Manchester, UK) Wiener Festwochen (Vienna, Austria)

Please note: this production is not recommended for children under the age of 14.


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