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Light Touch

A three-year-old child loses his eye-sight in an accident and,even as the world around him turns black,he learns to “see” through touch and sound. He was the Frenchman Louis Braille...

Written by Prabhjot Sohal | Published: February 19, 2010 10:10 pm

An Israeli puppeteer weaves an inspiring story about the life of French educator Louis Braille

A three-year-old child loses his eye-sight in an accident and,even as the world around him turns black,he learns to “see” through touch and sound. He was the Frenchman Louis Braille,who,at the age of 15,would invent the alphabet for the blind that bears his name. At Epicentre in Gurgaon earlier this week,the story of Braille’s indefatigable courage came alive in a puppet show called “Touch of Light” that fittingly used his tools of learning — paper,pencil and ink.

“I related the medium and the message with my paper puppets,” says the puppeteer Patricia O’Donovon. The performance,held as part of the Ishara International Puppet Festival,opened to a hall packed with children and young adults. O’Donovon played with their imagination; in her deft hands,a pen morphed into a puppet and a line of paper figures became Braille’s family and friends. She used light and shadows for dramatic effects,creating giant silhouettes from paper cut-outs.

Like storytellers of old,she sat surrounded by her puppets,picking one at a time to relate an incident from Braille’s life. “A lot of my inspiration comes from the Indonesian shadow puppetry,which delves on Indian narratives. I use a ramp for my puppets that is similar to the one set for string puppets in Rajasthan,” says O’Donovon.

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