BirthIJsbrechtum, [Ysbrechtum], Friesland, Netherlands (1921)
DeathAmsterdam, Netherlands (2014)
Dutch puppeteer. Born in the province of Friesland, Feike Boschma began his career as a puppeteer in the western part of the Netherlands with the show The Stork and the Fox. In 2004, he was still performing, and seeking new forms of performing.
Early in his career, Boschma collaborated with young puppeteers who were intent on abandoning the traditional puppetry for new methods of manipulation. However, once these working relationships became institutionalized, Boschma, an individualist, left these partnerships and resumed working independently. His relationship with artists (painters, mimes, visual artists) from other disciplines proved more conducive and productive. He felt very much at home in cabaret, review, variety, dance and poetry. It was in the small theatres of Paris, where puppets, songs and cabaret mingled, that he encountered kindred spirits. The combination of these various theatrical disciplines was clearly apparent in his successful collaboration with Rob van Houten in Funhouse, a show that mixed bizarre mime acts, cabaret, music, dance and puppetry.
In contrast to many other puppeteers at that time, Feike Boschma developed a theory about movement, the use of colours, and the meaning of shapes: “Movement is drama, shape and colour belong to the visual arts” and “it’s all about movement”. These became the principles of his art of manipulation. This credo had not changed throughout his long life. Boschma’s collaboration with Cilly Wang, a Viennese comic dancer, was another important influence on his work.
Boschma created in his work a maximum of movement through the use of fragile materials, transparent and light fabrics. His characters are never realistic. They do not possess heads, arms or legs, only the suggestion of these.
Feike Boschma’s performances were visual poems, and poetry had always fascinated him. When he was over eighty years old, Boschma researched the possibilities of combining non-realistic images with the poetry of Heinrich Heine and the music of Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann.