Guignol was created by an inhabitant of Lyon, Laurent Mourguet. He was married, had ten children and was working as a silk weaver. But when there was no more work for silk weavers, he became poorer and decided to be a tooth puller. But the people were very afraid of the pincers and didn't dare to approach him. So he had the idea to create a puppet looking like himself to comfort people a bit. He called it Guignol. And it worked : the people stopped to listen to his stories and laughed and when he suggested to pull out their teeth, the fear of pincers disappeared. Guignol was loved by the people because it let them forget all the trouble. At the end, Laurent abandoned its dentist job to create in Lyon a theater to tell the adventures of Guignol.
There are three troupes presenting puppet shows daily in Lyon. One is located in a small theater in Old Lyon and the others are in other parts of the city. We attended an afternoon show at the Daniel Streble troupe. After the show we went backstage and were shown the workings and looked at an enormous number of puppets of ages from ancient to new. These are what are called hand puppets and thus are limited in movement but that makes them much more creative. It is as easy for adults to enjoy the shows as it is for children, maybe easier.
The Puppet theatre in Lyon is something to be enjoyed during the summer months at the Theatre Guignol. There are well known characters performing such as Punch and Judy or otherwise known in France as 'Guignol' and 'Madelon' .
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