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Drama Canadian

String Quartet

Four Plays by Ronnie Burkett

by (author) Ronnie Burkett

introduction by Liz Nicholls

Playwrights Canada Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2010
Canadian, Puppets & Puppetry
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2010
    List Price

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A collection of four plays by internationally renowned puppeteer Ronnie Burkett. This anthology includes the three plays of the Memory Dress Trilogy: Tinka's New DressStreet of Blood, and Happy, as well as Provenance.

Tinka's New Dress

Two old friends become puppeteers, each performing with the same beloved folk characters, Franz and Schnitzel. Fipsi, ambitious and naive, aligns herself with the rule government, the Common Good. Carl, headstrong and outspoken, is forced underground as his satirical shows parody the censorship and oppression of the Common Good. Based on the illegal puppet shows staged in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, Tinka's New Dress examines propaganda versus truth, compliance versus censorship, and the collective society versus the individual.

Street of Blood

When Mrs. Edna Rural pricks her finger and bleeds onto her sewing he sees the face of Christ in a quilt square. As the media and the faithful converge on her sleepy prairie town, a has-been Hollywood vampire seeking rejuvenation and a karaoke-singing gay terrorist intent on revenge join the fray. And just as the bloodbath begins, the man in the quilt appears in the flesh to the odd trio, revealing that the bonds of blood are thicker and stranger than their individual thirsts led them to believe.


Happy, a cheerful veteran, homespun philosopher, and pensioner, wanders through episodes of grief in the lives of his fellow rooming-house tenants. Alongside Happy is Antoine Marionette, the emcee of the Grey Cabaret, who introduces arch presentations of sadness in song, pantomime, and burlesque that mirror and parody the stages of grief experienced by each character.


Pity Beane, a young art academic, travels to Europe to trace the provenance of the subject of her obsession, a painting of a young man known simply as Tender. What she finds is so much more than she had ever imagined. In a broth run by an aging madam, the twentieth-century art scene is played out from Paris, London, and Vienna in an unrivalled exploration of beauty: our obsession with it, our fantasies about it, our addiction to it, and our ownership of it.

About the authors

Ronnie Burkett has been captivated by puppetry since the age of seven, when he opened the World Book Encyclopedia to â??Puppets.â?? He began touring his puppet shows at the age of fourteen and has been on the road ever since. Ronnie has received numerous awards in Canadian theatre as a playwright, actor, and designer for his work with Theatre of Marionettes, including the Herbert Whittaker Drama Bench Award for Outstanding Contribution to Canadian Theatre, and international recognition including a Village Voice OBIE Award in New York for Off Broadway Theatre. From his peers, Ronnie has received three Citations for Excellence in the Art of Puppetry from The American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette and the Presidentâ??s Award from The Puppeteers of America. Recognized as one of the worldâ??s foremost theatre artists, his work has created an unprecedented adult audience for puppet theatre, and continuously plays to great critical and public acclaim in Canada, the U.K., Australia, Germany, Austria, Sweden, and elsewhere. Ronnie is the 2009 recipient of the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre. When not wiggling dollies in front of strangers, Ronnie lives in Toronto.

Ronnie Burkett's profile page

Liz Nicholls is a theatre writer, traveller, and appreciator of all matters theatrical.

Liz Nicholls' profile page

Other titles by Ronnie Burkett

Other titles by Liz Nicholls