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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Strings Attached

Anurupa Roy of Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust has produced a play at The Ishara International Puppet Festival that sounds like it’s straight out of your child’s value education class.

Written by Paromita Chakrabarti | January 27, 2009 12:29:52 am

The seventh Ishara International Puppet Festival begins today with something for everyone

Anurupa Roy of Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust has produced a play at The Ishara International Puppet Festival that sounds like it’s straight out of your child’s value education class. Roy’s production,The Little Blue Planet,wants to drive home the menace of global warming to its young audience. “We were approached by the Climate Project India for a production that deals with the theme of global warning in a manner that will be easily comprehensible at all levels. That’s how we came up with this in October last year. We try and showcase how human greed and unaware exploitation of resources are leading to disaster,” she says. The 35-minute show is scheduled for February 2.

At the seventh annual edition of the Ishara Puppet Festival,the choice on offer indicates a showcase of the best that the world of puppetry has to offer. While international participants include Nikolai Zykov Puppet Theatre from Moscow,Tiyatrotem from Istanbul,Teatro Massimo from Ravenna in Italy,Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company from Taipei,there are Kuch Kuch Puppet Theatre from Delhi and Tripura Puppet Theatre from Agartala among others from India. “We have tried to ensure that they are family performances involving both traditional and modern techniques and themes,so as to allow a broader spectrum. One of the focuses has also been on works that combine performance with developmental themes,” says Dadi Pudumjee,festival director and the man behind Ishara. So while Katkatha speaks of global warming,first-time participant Prabhitangshu Das of Tripura Theatre Company picks up tales from Panchatantra and from Bengali poet Sukanta Bhattacharya’s poems on exploitation in society,and weaves them into an interesting narrative through rods,gloves,shadow puppetry,actual acting and choreography. “We also have a series of puppet films that focus on the handmade craft. It’s been brought by Heather Henson,the daughter of Jim Henson of Sesame Street fame.

Apart from the on-stage productions,the week-long programme will also see a three-part presentation series by Karen Smith of the US,Ranjana Pandey of India and Jennifer Pfeiffer of Australia,all members of the UNIMA and all working on challenges and opportunities in puppetry. “I started a PhD in the Victorian College of Art,University of Melbourne,on the workings of indigenous puppetry artists in different cultures. My presentation will deal largely with ways to empower these people,” says Pfeiffer.

It’s not going to be all work and no fun though. While the Taiwanese production talks of love between a couple who meet by accident (glove puppet show),the Turkish production starts off with tales of Don Quixote and then moves on to original narratives about a child and his favourite fairy tale (combination of puppet theatre,shadow play and improvisational theatre). Block your dates now.

Tickets are available at the India Habitat Centre programme desk for Rs 100 and Rs 200. The festival will also be held in Mumbai from January 31.

For more details call 24682001-24682009

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