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The VisitorPuppet performance, length 40 min

The Visitor, photo Jaka Varmuž
An old draughtsman lives alone, never answering the door, never leaving his little home. His life has lost all its colour. Then one day, he makes a mug out of old paper. And then a teapot and some flowers... Using the objects around him, the draughtsman starts designing a magical world of imagination where he feels less lonely. His room comes alive with images of love and warmth, until he finally plucks up the courage to open the door and let the colour into his home.

This tender production about friendship, loneliness and fears is based on the children’s book of the same name by the German writer and illustrator Antje Damm. The Slovenian version, in Tina Mahkota’s translation, was published in 2015 by Zala. This book was awarded the Leipzig Reading Compass for young adult fiction in 2015, Slovenia’s Golden Pear distinction in 2016, and the New York Times / New York Public Library award for Best Illustrated Book of the Year in 2018. 

The artwork for the production is inspired by the book's dynamic illustrations or, rather, the tiny three-dimensional set designs or models that the author made using glue, colours and collage. The director Ivana Djilas and her creative team used stop-motion animation to take the images to a new level, creating truly magical theatre that hardly needs words.

In addition to hand-drawn animation, bringing to life the atmosphere of the draughtsman’s little home, the production features performers using theatrical tricks and manipulating paper puppets to a live score. This makes the story of the lonely draughtsman come to life in a visually and aurally rich setting, encouraging us to open ourselves to life and allow childlike curiosity and playfulness into our world.  

Ivana Djilas has worked as a director in many professional theatres and theatre companies, with a recent focus on productions for children and young adults. She is interested in plays for young audiences that discuss important questions about life. Her latest credits as a director for the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre include Goose the Bear, Scritch Scratch Dip Clapote!, and Jack and Jim.

The production uses excerpts from Antje Damm’s book Waiting for Goliath.

Original German edition: Der Besuch by Antje Damm
Copyright©2015 Moritz Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt am Main
All rights reserved.

Premiere: 22 October 2021, Small Stage of the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre
Author: Inspired by Antje Damm's children book
Director: Ivana Djilas
Art design and scenographer: Sara Slivnik
Cast: Brane Vižintin, Jelena Ždrale a. g.
Video: Vesna Krebs
Costumography: Jelena Proković
Music: Jelena Ždrale
Light design: Igor Remeta
Stage Manager and Sound Designer: Aleš Erjavec
Puppets, Set and Costumes Production: Iztok Bobić, Zala Kalan, Polona Černe, Sandra Birjukov, Marjetka Valjavec, David Klemenčič, Olga Milič, Uroš Mehle s.p., Zoran Srdić, Katarina Planinc