For Teater Refleksion, nothing is impossible.
By Michaela Cavanagh and Teresa Weikmann
Tucked into an unassuming alleyway off of Frederiksgade, hidden from view of the main street, sits Teater Refleksion. The building itself is stark and imposing, but if you enter through the doorway and ascend the staircase, you’re transported to an entirely different world, one full of magic and whimsy — a world populated by puppets.
Teater Refleksion is a puppet and animation theatre company that was founded by Bjarne Sandborg 25 years ago, with the goal to “inspire, challenge and encourage the audience to embrace the challenges which face them.”
“I founded the company in 1990 with the aim to have a place to develop puppet and animation theatre,” says Sandborg. “There are more people working with it now, but back then there weren’t that many. Slowly, slowly it started, and gradually it worked, step by step, and now I think we’ve made something like 20 shows.”
Sandborg recently welcomed Jutland Station to observe an early rehearsal for a new show being developed by Sandborg with two Aarhus puppeteers, Loui Danckert and Stine Lundgaard. While the show does not yet have a name, like many of Teater Refleksion’s shows, it deals with existential themes like loss and loneliness.
“Puppets don’t pretend to be, they are not acting. They are what they are.” – Loui Danckert
“The puppets are really good at physical metaphors… You can build the puppet to serve the purpose of the feeling.”- Stine Lundgaard
“Puppets can die in a proper way, so there are a lot of the things between heaven and earth you can work with, like floating, flying, magic tricks, illusions…”- Bjarne Sandborg
For Teater Refleksion, working with puppets and animation allows children and adults alike to deal with these themes and explore their feelings in comfortable, safe ways.
Puppeteer Loui Danckert says, “It’s simple, but the audience gets more room to put their own story into the story.” “We’ve experienced that before, that people see the same show but they see five different shows, because they’re at five different places in their lives, and they don’t have the words to tell them this is how it is, so it talks more in symbolism and other languages.”
Watch Jutland Station’s audioslideshow to get a first glimpse of the early stages of Teater Refleksion’s newest show, and hear more of what Sandborg, Danckert and Lundgaard have to say about the magic and expressiveness of puppet theatre: