Monday, March 4, 2013

Travel the World with Shadow Puppets!

Behind the Shadow Screen with
Jim Napolitano of Nappy's Puppets!
Shadows Around the World
by Nappy's Puppets
Thurs & Fr | March 7 & 8 | 10:30am
Fri & Sat | March 9 & 10 | 1pm & 3pm


Travel the world with Nappy's Puppets! For thousands of years, man has manipulated puppets, and one of the oldest and most wonderful forms is shadow puppetry. Don't miss this chance to explore the history of shadow puppetry through classic and original stories with the hilarious Jim Napolitano as your guide!

Humans have manipulated puppets for a variety of reasons: ceremony, religion, education, therapy and entertainment. Of the many forms of puppetry, the most magical and cinematic is shadow puppetry.  Shadows Around The World explores the history of shadow puppetry and its development throughout the world. The program focuses on world cultures and history and the development of Shadow Theater as an art form.

We promise this will be the funniest history lesson you have ever had! Don't believe us? Take a look for your self in this sneak-peek video:


Have we tickled your interest yet? Let's learn some more about shadow puppets from around the world!  Shadow puppets from Indonesia are one of the most famous of all.

Shadow puppet theater is called Wayang Kulit in Indonesia and it is particularly popular in Java and Bali.  The term derived from the word wayang literally means shadow or imagination in Javanese, also connotes "spirit". The word kulit means skin, as the material from which the puppet is made is thin perforated leather sheets made from buffalo skin.

The performances of shadow puppet theater are accompanied by gamelan music in Java. In Bali it is known as wayang kulit, and originally lasted as long as six hours or until dawn. The complete wayang kulit troupes include dalang (puppet master), nayaga (gamelan players), and sinden (female choral singer). Some of the nayaga also performed as male choral singer. The dalang (puppet master) played the wayang behind the cotton screen illuminated by oil lamp or modern halogen lamp, creating visual effects similar to animation. The flat puppet has moveable joints that are animated by hand, using rods connected to the puppet. The handle of the rod is made of carved buffalo horn.

Indonesian Shadow puppets with the gunungan, or "Tree of Life" which signifies the start of the play.
The plays are invariably based on romantic tales, especially adaptations of the classic Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Some of the plays are also based on local happening or other local secular stories. It is up to the dalang (master puppeteer) to decide his direction. At the beginning of each play, a gunungan appears: the tree of life or the holy mountain to signify the start of the story!

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