Les Antliaclastes (France)




21, 22 and 23 May at 7pm (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Portuguese Premiere




⇨ TICKETS ONLINE     Tickets: 6€ to 10€ (with discounts)  +info

Technique: String, rod and glove puppets Language: Some words in French Age guidance: +10 Runs: 60 min.


An alchemical puppet operetta.


Pinocchio, Captain Ahab of Moby Dick, the prophet Jonas and ambergris... What do they have in common? Ambregris immerses us in the myth of the belly of the whale, through the story of the transformation of ambergris, whose value equals that of gold. Mechanisms of crazy and fabulous ingenuity, take us on an incredible odyssey with string, shadow, hand and rod puppets, masks, and live perfume synthesis into an olfactory puppet operetta about being and its scents. Unique and singular!

Adept of scenography with inventive mechanisms, the American Patrick Sims created a perfume organ for his new creation. Inside this giant perfumer laboratory, which resembles the digestive interior of a whale, is a charlatan perfumer who is obsessed with finding the perfect lump of ambergris in order to complete his great olfactory masterpiece. The story of the creation of this precious and rare substance produced by the digestive system of sperm whales, although it has an indescribable smell in itself, is at the center of this alchemical puppet operetta.


Its magical ability to harmoniously unite different fragrances serves as a metaphor for an initiatory tale, through the encounter of great figures of literature, who have in common to have been swallowed by a whale. Pinocchio, who threw himself into the mouth of the whale in search of his maker, and upon being reunited with his father, brewed a sneezing powder and was as well ejected from the beast. Jonah, the biblical character whom was swallowed by a whale for his disobedience, then spat out again thanks to his re-found faith. As for Captain Ahab, in his obsession over his hunt for Moby Dick, is taken under by the mythical monster, refusing to let go.


The process of psychological purification of these three solitary figures, the puppet, the prophet and the whale hunter, who roam relentlessly among the waves, accompanies that of the mysterious formation of the Ambergris.

"Alchemy of the tale and of the things
Patrick Sims starts from the history of Pinocchio to compose a beautiful and exuberant fantasy. A crossroads of tales and myths, composed from various techniques, and gathered in an 'alchemical puppet operetta' (...).
And many other heterogeneous curiosities, but built with ingenuity, with a unique poetry that unites the complex and crazy world of Patrick Sims. His boldness, whose perpetual mutation makes each of his shows an extension of the previous one and of all the others. Between tale, myth and object, Patrick Sims evolves like a sea wolf in love with storms. He constantly takes risks and always embarks on new and exciting journeys."

-Anaïs Heluin,



Les Antliaclastes are based in Maillet, France. The company is under the direction of Patrick Sims. Les Antliaclastes use a unique blend of puppetry techniques and styles, masks, machines, and original organic soundtracks, bringing together artists and technicians from the United States, Germany, England, Ireland and France.
Patrick Sims (b.1975, Vermont USA) has been working on puppetry since 1994. He first became involved with puppets whilst studying film and animation at Middlebury College, USA. He has worked with Bread and Puppet Theatre, studied shadow puppetry in Java, and pursued a Phd at Trinity College Dublin with a thesis on the ‘Pataphysics of the Puppet, Alfred Jarry and the inhuman performer'. For five years he was the artistic director, writer, puppet-maker and puppeteer for Buchinger’s Boot Marionettes, that participated in FIMFA in 2008. He is currently artistic director of Les Antliaclastes with whom he is engaged with several projects, including film, theatre, installations, music, and a multimedia electronic opera.

He amazed the audience with his singular imagery in the show La Valse des Hommelettes, presented at FIMFA Lx18 in the National Theatre.



Concept, direction, puppets: Patrick Sims Puppets, masks, props: Josephine Biereye Costumes: Camille Lamy Set design, props, machines and mechanics: Richard Penny, Nicolas Hubert Music and sound design: Karine Dumont Video: Mickaël Titrent Lighting design: Jean Grison, Sophie Barraud Performers: Karine Dumont, Patrick Sims, Nicolas Hubert, Richard Penny Photography: Mickael Titrent, Jeff Lefranc Coproduction: TJP CDN Strasbourg Grand Est, Mini Théâtre de Payerne Suisse, Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes de Charleville-Mézières Company subsidised by
: DRAC Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Conseil Départemental de l’Allier