Life Lessons from Invisible Thread’s ‘Les Hommes Vides’. Walking back down the flights of stairs after the show in Soho Theatre’s uppermost performance space I thought ‘As humans, we’re capable of creating ridiculous joy. All we have to do is manipulate a tiny puppet who dings a xylophone three times when his co-puppet calls out a raffle ticket number’.
Once upon a time I was in the Barbican for a performance of a Shostakovich symphony. As I was listening to it I had a similar feeling. I thought ‘ Do we all have it in us to make a symphony of one kind or another?’
So that’s what I think Invisible Thread’s ‘Les Hommes Vides’ is – Liz Walker’s personal miniature symphony. Ok. So it’s not grand. It’s the complete opposite. It’s short, ramshackle, broken and super basic. But it’s still a symphony. Liz Walker knows some serious stuff about object manipulation, movement and how to get an audience to empathise with an object.
The show’s big stars are two endearing puppet men with big heads and pleading eyes, of the same breed of character as Vladimir and Estragon in Waiting for Godot – they’re waiting, but who knows what they’re waiting for. It’s all pretty pointless, but that’s the ultimate beauty of it all.
So, like Beckett, the theme of the show is about the futility and emptiness of stuff, objects, materialism, humans, life – everything. But here’s the thing: It’s playful. Ding a xylophone with a puppet – anything goes. And that’s the moral. Everything is futile, so you may as well play with conviction.