Costa Rican puppeteer. Guillermo Freer played a key role in the history of Costa Rica’s puppet theatre, with his wooden puppets appearing since the 1940s in the squares throughout the country whenever a popular or civic festival or patronage festivals (fiestas patronales, dedicated to the local patron saint or the Virgin) gave him the opportunity to perform. He has also contributed to the preservation of the tradition of mascaradas (masquerades) and the procesiones de gigantes (procession of giants; see Giant Puppets).
His shows, such as La escuelita (The Little School), El accidente de tránsito (The Traffic Accident), La corrida de toros (The Bullfight), and La casa de los Espantos (The Haunted House), have left their impression on people’s memories. Equally memorable are his popular characters, such as Don Gervasio Roncafuerte, Pantaleón, El Chinito, El Negrito Bembón (the Little Negro Bembón), Rosita, El Diablo (the Devil), or La Calavera (Skull), accompanied by the strains of a marimba, which have delighted young and old alike for many years.
In 1992, during the Festival Internacional de las Artes, homage was paid to Guillermo Freer with an exhibition of his masks and glove puppets (cachiporras) at the Museo Nacional.
(See Costa Rica.)
- Video, “Mascarada del Professor Pedro Freer García, San José, Costa Rica 1931”. A 1931 video of the puppets of a relative of Guillermo Freer, Pedro Freer (1:07 minutes): http://youtu.be/j8gwxwfUMmw