Ambergris is formed from a secretion of the bile duct in the intestines of the sperm whale, and can be found floating on the sea or washed up on the coast. Ambergris tells the tale about the production of this rare substance through a blending together great literary characters - all of whom have been swallowed by a whale. Ambergris is set inside a giant perfume laboratory.
Behind the doors is a charlatan perfumer who is obsessed with finding the perfect lump of ambergris in order to complete his great olfactory masterpiece.
The inside of this perfume laboratory resembles the digestive interior of a whale. The Quack perfumer dissects I umps of ambergris before considering their inclusion into his formula for the perfect smell.
Ambergris charters the process of a base substance into its purest form; from shit to gold, whilst following the psychological purification of our puppet hero.
Through its musical structure, Ambergris mixes play of string, shadow, hand and rod puppets, masks, and live perfume synthesis into an olfactory puppet operetta about being and its scents.
Patrick Sims (b. 1975, Vermont USA) has been a practicing puppeteer for the past 16 years. 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 5 years he was the artistic director, writer, puppet-maker and puppeteer for Buchinger's Boot Marionettes. 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. His next project is being researched and developed with the support of La Chartreuse, Le Centre National des Ecritures du Spectacles, Villeneuve-lés-Avignon.