Travelling home on the Tube the other day, amilessly flicking through the Evening Standard I was captivated by an article entitled Fare Play-Husband and Wife Team Turn Rusting Double Decker Bus Into Puppet Theatre. Puppeters are very cool and Cesare and Athena Maschi looked like the coolist. I have always been fascinated with puppertry, especially marionettes, growing up on a diet of Gerry Anderson’s ‘Supermarionation’ TV shows such as Thunderbirds and Stingray. Some therapists call it ‘Pinocchio envy.’ The Bus King Theatre is stationed this week at the Spitalfields Market near London’s Liverpool Station for the school half-term break. They are performing three shows a day in the ‘lovingly re-purposed’ Routemaster bus, with the lower deck converted into a theatre for 25-30 people and the upper for puppetry workshops. The Maschi’s spent three years looking for the ‘perfect’ bus, which they eventually found in a friend’s field. ‘I love buses and had this romantic idea of owning one and when you go inside it is a theatre,” Athena told the reporter. I had always threatened to draw puppeters before, but it was a theatrical art that had escaped the visual interrogation of my 4B pencil. I was struck by a sudden urge of ‘superspontanioussketching’ and quicky drew this based on the pics that accompioned the article, then hiked it to Spitalfields for the sig-nification.
As I imagined Cesare and Athena were supercool. It’s not everyday someone just rocks up asking you to sign their scribble, but they took it in their stride. Marionettist’s are like that. This sketch is now signed by the hands that pull the strings, giving life to so many puppet persons. Check them out at http://www.buskingtheatre.London, or go see them live when the bus stops near you.