Dear Henk, I remember the first time I met Ans, about 30 years ago, at the FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DE TEATRE DE TITELLES DE BARCELONA, directed by Josep Mª Carbonell;  it was on the stage of the Regina Theatre, the same theatre where five years later I had the great honor to present my show “Anthology” for a month in Barcelona.”

Henk and Ans Boerwinkel
Jim Henson with Ans and Henk Boerwinkel in 1984. Picture from Jim Henson Company Archives (The Red Book)

I remember going up on stage after the show, and Ans, on the left side behind the little puppet theater, indicating to the public with hand gestures not to go any further, because during the show a number of puppets had been carefully placed on a cloth that was spread on the stage, and we might step on them.

I remained for a few minutes, among the other people, absorbed, fascinated by the mysterious force that those puppets gave off. I felt I had just witnessed a show that would mark my life, and that I would be unlikely to see another show as complete as this again, (I only had this experience again a year later, in 1985, with Albrecht Roser).

Jim Henson interview Ans and Henk Boerwinkel.

A dim light illuminated a small theatre in which enigmatic characters with slow, deliberate movements evolved and metamorphosed, without words, without music, just a few sounds – wind, whistling, a groan, or the barking of a dog. Only images and movement, puppets in a pure state.

Ans and Henk Boerwinkel
Ans an Henk Boerwinkel in 2008. Picture by Wilbert Bijzitter.

The next day, I went back to the theatre, to see the same show where Henk and her wife Ans taught me to focus on a new concept of puppetry and marionettes.

Ans and Jenk Boerwinkel
Ans and Henk Boerwinkel. Picture from Jim Henson Company Archives (The Red Book)

Ans, thank you for having lived and for having shared your life and art with others.

Rest in peace.

My deepest condolences, Henk.