Canadian director. Felix Mirbt settled in Quebec in 1953. He worked first with Micheline Legendre, then with Maleen Burke as well as with several theatre companies and television before pursuing his own creative work. A passionate researcher, he was fascinated by the subject and experimented with different puppet building techniques and artistic styles, from traditional to abstract. He continued his questioning of the meaning and scope of puppetry and mask on stage, using what he called “totemic objects”, as well as the powerful expressiveness of one gesture and rhythm in space.
In the 1970s, he collaborated with Jean Herbiet and the National Arts Centre of Canada (NAC) in Ottawa to create Büchner’s Woyzeck (1974) and The Dreamplay/Le Songe (1977) of August Strindberg. Both productions enjoyed great success in Canada and in Europe and were presented at the Edinburgh Festival in 1980.
Felix Mirbt’s interest in music never wavered. He conceived of major works for symphony orchestras. He directed L’Enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ, 1980) by Hector Berlioz (1980) at the Guelph Spring Music Festival and collaborated with sculptor Carolyn Davis. In 1988, he presented L’Histoire du soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) of Igor Stravinsky in which he ventured to express the essence of his theatrical research on the various possibilities of relations between actors and puppets and their fragile emotional bond with the audience.
This uncommon artist who pushed the boundaries of puppetry was both a model of discipline and determination and a source of inspiration and innovation for many designers.
- La Marionnette en manchette. Vol. XIII, No. 3. Montréal: Publication of the Association québécoise des marionnettistes (AQM), Autumn 2002.