Human Remains is an original visual theatre production that uses a curious collection of real legacy objects to tell the remarkable true story of their previous owner – adventurer and self-made Mancunian, Jim Tunstall. Prayer rugs become desert wastes, cassette players transform into hungry locusts and bow ties dance the tango in a show that follows one’s man quest to write his own history and wonders what relationships we hold to our belongings in a world full of Stuff.
When a young photographer inherits an unusual legacy, a strange obsession draws him into the past, and sets him on a journey to remember his present. Provocatively blending fact and fiction, memory and imagination Human Remains fuses object animation with rich images and movement to pull the story from history and free the secret life of things.
Human Remains premiered at Suspense, London’s award-winning puppetry festival, in 2009 and subsequently toured the Northwest. We are considering reworking the show for future touring.
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Human Remains explores the life of James Tunstall, a real life adventurer from the North West of England, whose story is told through the playful examination of objects from his life. Artefacts from his journey through Africa are skilfully animated as the two actors (Selina Papoutseli and Gilbert Taylor) coyly discover the true nature of the man and his impact on everyone and everything he touched. Broken crockery, rugs and bowties are contorted into new shapes and given a personality beyond their passive involvement in the story.
‘The two performers have a compelling physical grace that allows the objects to take centre stage, while their own feelings are hidden with subtle eye contact, humour and awkward silences. The physical elements of puppetry and theatre are seamlessly merged while the sound design of James Foz Foster adds mystique and personality… a highly enjoyable lo-fi production that charmed the audience throughout.’ – Total Theatre
‘An intense reflection… including questions about what is real/unreal; the relationship between different narratives; the way in which character interacts with history. A fascinating experiment on how humans interact with the world through objects’ – Animations