STRUNG ALONG

FOR Rhoda Lopez, being strung along in romance is the story of her life.

First she fell in love with Remo Di Fillippo’s tiny ballerina, and then she fell for the puppet-master himself.

The Fremantle local, a WAAPA graduate, met Di Fillipo while touring Europe with girl band the Sirens, performing at seven festivals in eight weeks.

Mutual friends introduced the pair during one of the biggest street arts festivals in the world, at Pennabilli, Italy.

“I thought he was so gorgeous and wasn’t going to be into me,” Lopez says, “So I thought I would just be myself.”

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 • Rhoda Lopez and Remo Di Fillippo—tied with strings of love. Photos supplied

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Like a Hollywood movie the pair parted ways, criss-crossing the world from Europe to South America and to Australia their paths converging enough at various festivals to nurture their growing love.

Marriage was in the air, but the one big ceremony that was planned ended up being three.

The first was at a registry, followed by a “surprise” wedding thrown by street art performer mates, [with] a plastic wedding cake and wedding clothes.”

There’ll be a third when the couple arrive for the Fremantle Streets Arts festival: “My family couldn’t come [to Europe] so we are going to have one here,” Lopez says.
Impressed by Di Fillipo’s mastery of his craft, Lopez took up the art and now, like Di Fillippo, makes her own puppets.

The couple will present Hanging by a Thread at the Freo festival, a show that took two years of construction and research, with a “cast” of six puppets.

“Inspired by friends or people who inspire us. Nicolo the violinst is inspired by Paganini,” Lopez says.

Each of the handcrafted characters has a phrase written over their heart: “Like giving them a soul”.

And Lopez’ mother-in-law makes all the costumes.

Passionate about their art, the pair also performs at prisons and nursing homes: “Our goal is to make it free because people should be able to see them.”
Hanging by a Thread will be at a variety of pitches around Fremantle Saturday March 26 to Monday March 28.

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