Teatro Dondolo is one of Oona Libens’ projects. In the 19th and beginning of the 20th century there were hundreds of small travelling theatre groups touring the roads of Europe. They could be puppeteers, circus or showmen, performing on streets and markets, at social events or by the seaside. Teatro Dondolo was one of these travelling companies. It was a collective of puppeteers, artists, musicians, botanists, birdwatchers and different kinds of craftsmen and women. It was founded between 1880-90 in Urbino, Italy by Alma Cuomo, her brother and a friend. Initially they travelled in an old carriage with horses and donkeys through Italy and later through eastern Europe. Gradually people joined and people left the group. They performed shadow plays along with music in the strangest places (in fishing houses, on rafts, in carousels, etc). Unfortunately there is practically no information left about how their shows looked like, apart from a few letters and drawings by Alma Cuomo. The group dissembled some time after the turn of the century.
After a hibernation of more than 100 years, Teatro Dondolo is back, re-established by swedo-belgian shadowplayer Oona Libens. Like the old collective, she emphasises a multi-disciplinary interaction of participants i.e. musicians, dancers, sound engineers, artists, scientists in her re-establishment of Teatro Dondolo. It is an ongoing process and an umbrella under which installations and performances combine the old-Dondolo’s ideas with contemporary ideas, dreams, visions of past and future, of poetry and science.
It is a collaboration through the ages, a media-archeological research.
Teatro Dondolo now makes contemporary performances – analogue multimedia shows – using shadows, reflections and projections in a mechanical miniature theatre. Live films, with shadow theatre as the most elementary form of moving image.