Many strings attached, Swati Daftuar, The Hindu

8th Feb’2012

The Ishara Puppet Festival 2012 was an initiative to narrate and entertain the audience through storytelling making it a wholesome learning experience.

The Ishara puppet festival has arrived in the capital, and has brought with it a treasure chest of stories that will be told in colourful and vibrant ways. Since its conception in 2001, the festival has seen more and more success year after year.

Over the past nine years, several countries have participated in the puppet festival, including Belgium, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, USA, Brazil and Sri Lanka. Ranging from traditional rod and string puppets to much more complicated and advanced contraptions, there are performances of all kinds that will entertain children and adults alike.

Various plays

This year, the festival began on February 1, at the Epicentre Mall in Gurgaon, and the first show, performed by the Kuch Kuch Puppet Theatre, brought to life the world of snake charmers, loveable dalmatians, and other colourful and vibrant characters.

Their story was told without words, the emotions speaking for themselves. The Director of the play, Mohhameed Shameem, , 24 years old, and nurtured by the Salaam Baalak Trust, he has studied theatre and then sculpture, ultimately deciding that puppet theatre was his calling. Today, he has his own production house, Kuch Kuch Puppet Theatre based out of Delhi.

The rest of the festival has an exciting line-up that includes theatre companies from all over the world. The Puppet Beings Theatre from Taiwan will perform “The Backyard Story” at the India Habitat Centre.

The story is magical and fantastical, asking that one question we’ve all asked before — What do inanimate objects do when they are not being used. The toys and clothes in the story all have their own tales to tell, hidden somewhere is also a lesson for the audience.

To come…

Parwaz Puppet Theatre from Afghanistan will perform the ‘Bozak Chini’ (The Goat and the Wolf) on February 7 at the India Habitat Centre. The show is based on a well loved children’s fairy tale from Afghanistan. Parwaz Puppet Theatre is the first independent puppet theatre ensemble in Afghanistan and aims to revive the puppet theatre traditions as well as develop modern afghan puppet theatre.

“Oh Rats!” and “A Package for Granny” will both be performed by Sydney Puppet Theatre, Australia on February 9. The two fun packed shows will be a combination of loveable and colourful characters as well as nursery rhymes and tales to entertain children.

On February 13, Teatro dei Piedi will perform Gone With The Feet at the India Habitat Centre. Laura Kibel, an award winning artist, musician and puppeteer, transforms her hands, feet, knees, stomach and other parts into funny characters and props for this solo show. The short stories are wordless and can be understood by children of all ages.

Supported by Habitat World, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Teamwork Films, the Ishara Puppet Festival will continue till Feb 13 at the India Habitat Centre and from 13 – 15 at Epicentre, Gurgaon. Produced by Teamwork Productions, the Festival hopes to focus on new and contemporary work in this field from both India and abroad, mixing entertainment and storytelling with learning.

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