That’s not the way we do it: Madrid puppeteers arrested after carnival show

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UPDATE: Since the initial reporting of this story on February 8, more information has become available regarding the content of the play ´The Witch and Don Cristobal´ and also the possible reasons behind the arrests of the puppeteers, all of which will be explored in a more in-depth article which will follow tomorrow, once all of the strands of the story have been investigated.     


Parents and children attending a puppet show during Madrid´s carnival were left horrified by its gruesome and debaucherous depiction of very adult themes. 

Those who saw the play “The Witch and Don Cristobal”, held in the Tetuan area of the capital, witnessed hand-puppets re-enacting violent scenes including the rape of a witch, a murdered pregnant woman, a home abortion and the hanging of a judge. 

Children watched wide-eyed as drunken puppets caroused on stage, urging their infant audience to try squatting in derelict buildings. A pro-ETA banner is reported to have been part of the set.  

Several parents complained after the show on February 5, leading local police in Madrid to arrest the two puppet masters in charge, who are reported to be part of a theatre group called Titeres Desde Abajo (Puppets from Below). 

Still reeling from recent accusations of her authorizing the tearing down of Francoist monuments in Madrid, culture councillor, Celia Mayer, described the show as “inappropriate for an infant audience” and said the council members were “absolutely outraged”. 

Ms Mayer confirmed that the tasteless show was stopped after Friday´s complaints, while an official complaint for breach of contract has since been filed with Madrid´s duty investigative court and the programme managers responsible for scheduling the play have been dismissed. 

An official statement from the City Hall revealed that the children´s show was never previewed by the art director responsible for scheduling the 15 carnival events held in Tetuan.

“During the workshop the artists hired carried out offensive actions, completely out of place in any context and totally disrespectful with the values of coexistence, respect and diversity proposed by Madrid City Hall.”

The theatre group Titeres Desde Abajo have not released a statement as of yet, though their Facebook page describes the outrageous play as a puppet show “to talk about the things we feel are urgent.” 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi! My name is Max and I’m from Asturias.
    First, the puppet story goes as follows: witch gets evicted from her home and raped by tenant. She gets pregnant, has the baby and a nun tries to take the baby away. They fight and the nun dies. A policeman arrives and hits the witch. When she is unconscious, he brings a banner that reads something that can be translated as “hail alka-eta” (a play on words with Alkaeda and ETA). The policeman takes a picture of her with the banner to incriminate the witch. She goes to trial and tricks the judge to gang himself with his own rope.

    For this reason two young puppeteers are in prison for their 5th day, charged with “hailing terrorism” charges and without bailout possibility.
    Madrid’s mayoress has publicly excused her and her team for such a very adult content display in front of children, but the point here is the lack of proportion between the possible crime and the strict measures taken before the trial has even started. Many of us think is a deliberate attack to freedom of speech.
    Of course you’re free to have your own opinion, I just wanted you to know the facts so you can create your opinion.
    Regards, Max

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