BirthSartrouville, France (1943)
French puppeteer. As a young 27-year-old electronics engineer, Alain Duverne attended a performance of Les Autruches (Ostriches) by Philippe Genty. Fascinated by the modern aspect of these productions intended for a wide audience, Duverne, thanks to his “hands-on” spirit, succeeded in becoming part of the company. For ten years, Philippe Genty taught him the conception and manipulation of puppets, and in 1981 Duverne created his own show, Les Œufs du hazard (Hazard Eggs) at the Théâtre de la Ville de Paris.
The same year Duverne founded the “société” Images et Mouvements (Images and Movements), and conceived and built puppets for very popular television shows. After Les Gouttes d’eau (Water Drops) and La Compagnie des dragons (In the Company of Dragons) – shows intended for young audiences – Duverne created the Bêbête Show, an adaptation of Claire Bretécher’s Les Frustrés (The Frustrated, 1975-1980); and advertising clips.
However, it was the caricatures of politicians, economists, and stars of the sports, cultural and social worlds, appearing daily in Les Guignols de l’info on the cable network Canal +, that confirmed the celebrity of the puppeteer. On a daily basis the entire team of the Images et Mouvements group presented the protagonists in sketches written by Lionel Dutemple, Bruno Gaccio, Ahmed Hamidi and Julien Hervé, drawn and sculpted by Alain Duverne. The remarkable longevity of this satirical show with latex puppets in the style of Muppets – inspired by the innovations of the American Jim Henson – allowed Alain Duverne to train technicians and manipulators specifically for the small screen beginning in 1990.
His children, Clara and Romain, have continued his legacy by successfully creating a theatre street show, Délit de façade (Façade Offense) using puppets created by their father.