Zen Gangster Blues

A dark adult fairytale about enlightenment

Zen Gangster Blues is a well smoked, dark humour solo puppetry show that questions our tendency for a dichotomous world view. It suggests that beyond the so called “good” and “bad” are many shades – all of them essentially human.

In the centre of the performance is the improbable story of a Dalai Lama incarnation, who is smuggled away from Tibet and finds a refuge in the home of an Italian Mafia family in New York of the ’20s. He grows to be an excellent gangster, but there is one problem – he is still enlightened. Combining his profession and his inner truth, Di L’amo – as he is better known in New York – soon finds himself in such a danger where even Buddha might not any longer smile – or will he?

Zen Gangster Blues was premièred on the 30th of October 2015 in Tehdas Teatteri, Turku.

From the reviews:

“Zen Gangster Blues is so well written and amusingly performed, that any doubts regarding the improbability of the plot vanish in the first minutes…”

“Falke’s use of paper theatre technique is an example for the infinite possibilites of contemporary puppetry, and the ability of puppeteers in Turku to use them in charmingly innovative ways… Falke has kept the basic 2-dimensional figures of paper theatre, but has creatively broken all the other borders…”

“Falke uses successfully the elements and symbolic possibilities of object theatre.” – Silja Ylitalo / Teatteri ja Tanssi  1/2016


“The most important function of the stories in the show is to offer an iconic set of images, and it is precisely in the visual innovation that the trick and charm of this show is found….”

“Falke positions himself with a chameleon-like skill as part of the audio-visual world on stage. With small gestures and a skilful shift of voices he expresses fluently the characters and events of the story.” –  Anniina Karhu / Turun Sanomat 2.11.2015

See the proplist!

Script, directing and performing: Ishmael Falke

Director assistant: Aati Saarva

Technician: Sandrina Lindgren

Puppet and scenery construction: Falke, Saarva, Lindgren and Forsman

Light Design: Jarkko Forsman

Sound design: Niklas Nybom

Recorded voices: Timo Väntsi and Ishmael Falke

Pizza driver role: Pauli Niemelä

Graphic design: Jussi Virkkumaa