month's time, a company of Swiss and Belgians present scenes from the life of Our Lady. They will appear at St. Pancras Town Hall, London, at Streatham Baths, South London, and elsewhere in the country.
"Some time ago", said Fr. Bernard Basset, S.J., who is concerned with the organisation, "a Belgian priest came to see me and told me about these puppets. Then I went over to Belgium to see them for myself. They give a moving performance."
THE story behind this venture is that Mlle. Br a d i Barth, daughter of a Swiss surgeon and herself a sculptress of outstanding merit, conceived the idea of devoting her talent to the service of Our Lady. She formed the company of Marionettes, comprising three Swiss and nine Belgians. which is to tour this country. She created all the puppets and scenery.
The Joys and Sorrows of Our Lady are depicted right through from the Annunciation, through the Calvary scenes, to Mary's Coronation in Heaven, all this accompanied by recorded voices and music provided by the Tavistock Repertory Company. The performance lasts nearly two hours.
PUPPETRY on religious themes was known as far back as the 16th century. The figures that Mlle. Barth uses are about half life-size.
"There will be 19 performances altogether in this tour, which is to last 21 days", Fr. Basset told me, "and the St. Pancras and Streatham performances will be on December 2 and 3 respectively. But the very first performance will he on November 25 at the Tower Theatre, Canonbury, l.ondon.
"All this, by the way". he went on, "is part of the plan of the Sodalities of Our Lady to honour the Lourdes Centenary, which began with the Five Halls Festival in February".
That popular priest-guitarist, Pere Duval, S.J., will also he appearing publicly at about the same time as Mlle. Barth's puppet company.
He is to give a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London. on Sunday, December 7, and again at the Clapham Assembly Hall, on December 11. The latter performance is under Y.C.W. auspices. Fr. Duval is likely to make further appearances on T.V. while in this country.