A look at life-size puppets without strings

An Opera of Puppets show
An Opera of Puppets show

Did you know that the Brahmaputra flows through three countries? And that while all the other major rivers in India are considered to be ‘female’, Brahmaputra is the only ‘male’ one?

The mighty river, as with the Ganga and Yamuna, is associated with several myths and legends. Bringing these tales to life for children this weekend is Opera of Puppets, a show organised by the team at Magical Whispers, featuring life-size puppets (enacted by the team itself) made using recycled materials. “We started Magical Whispers in October last year with a vision to bring epics and folk tales from around the world alive through a combination of dance, drama, song and, of course, puppetry,” says co-founder Madhuri Kale.

An Opera of Puppets show
An Opera of Puppets show

The group, which is made up of theatre enthusiasts, certified storytellers, special educators and puppeteers, came together after meeting at a storytelling course.

“We found that there was a gap when it came to finding stuff for our kids to do that was entertaining as well as educational, especially during the long summer break. Moreover, we realised that many parents themselves are not interested in introducing their children to theatre. We’re trying to change that,” adds Kale.

Since its inception, the initiative has put together three Opera of Puppets productions — Return of Ram, a German folk tale titled Hope, and the upcoming Brahmaputra: The Story of a Mysterious River. Kale shares that although this show has earlier been performed as part of a father-child festival, this is the first time it’s going to be performed independently.

The Magical Whispers team
The Magical Whispers team

“The Brahmaputra is born in Tibet, spends its youth in Assam, and it ages in Bangladesh. And the people residing in each of these countries have different stories attached to it. These are the stories we’re going to tell,” says Kale, adding that the performance is accompanied by Folk music from each of these places.

While doing research for the play, the team referred to old texts as well as a book called Tales of the River Brahmaputra, which chronicles a traveller’s journey along the course of the river.

Every production by the group concludes with a related post-event activity, which may include puppet making or a storytelling and reading session. Similarly, The Mysterious Brahmaputra River will be followed by a session teaching an Assamese folk dance.

“Not many people are aware of the dance forms that hail from Assam. It will be conducted by co-founder Shraddha Seth, who is a trained Folk dance teacher,” says Kale.

ON: April 23, 11 am to 12 pm
AT: Clap Center, opposite Infiniti Mall, Malad (W).
COST: Rs 350 (child), Rs 600 (child and parent)
LOG ON TO: bookmyshow.com


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