Puppet Theatre in Myanmar
What’s the traditional performance of Myanmar? It must be Puppet theatre. Puppet shows are the quintessence of Myanmar. Puppet shows are the focus of performing arts in Myanmar and the national treasure of the nation. The puppet show in Burma is characterized by a live-action imitating puppet dance and a puppet simultaneous performance. Unlike puppet shows in China, there are puppet shows from all over Myanmar. From Yangon to Bagan to Mandalay, watching puppet shows has become a must-have item for travel. Mandalay is a city that produces master of puppet shows.
History of Puppet Theatre in Myanmar
It is said that the Burmese puppet culture began in the 11th century more than a thousand years ago. Although the authenticity is unknown, it is certain that as early as the 15th century, the puppet show has become a pastime of the Burmese palace aristocrats. Burmese puppet show culture has existed for at least 600 years.
Because the ancient puppet show in Myanmar can be performed at the high stage, so it is also known as "high drama." Burmese puppets are performed by the line. Some people say that the puppet show in Myanmar is introduced from southern China. It is also said that the Burmese puppet show is initiated by Wu Duo, the minister of the Gongbang Dynasty.
Puppets are about 2 feet tall. Sometimes puppets are up with 60 lines. There are 28 characters in traditional puppet shows, including animals, gods and emperors, etc.. The initial puppet show has only one white screen and no props. The puppeteers and singers are composed of 2 people. The performance is divided into 3 parts. The first performance is to open the world and animal dance, followed by the performance of the palace, love story of the prince and the princess, and finally the Buddha's story or self-edited repertoire.
By the 16th century, the Burmese drama had formed a unique style, which was closely related to its highly developed puppet show, and it was the puppet show that promoted the progress of the dance.
What is the Puppet Theatre in Myanmar?
The puppet show is performed by a puppet show actor who connects the puppet to the key parts of the puppet's head, back, arms, hands and feet, and controls the movement of puppet through the wire, so that the puppet can make a lively movement and form. The performance structure of the puppet show is relatively fixed and is basically divided into 3 parts.
When watching puppet shows, viewers will marvel at the great creativity and expressive power of human beings. At the moment of finger movement, the puppet's demeanor and movement will change in an instant, which will promote the continuous development of the story.
When these puppets move, the expressive interpretation is very astounding. Once there is no actor's traction, the expression is exaggerated, and the brightly colored puppets faintly exudes a gloomy atmosphere, which is chilling. After all, puppet shows have a large part of mythological elements. Sitting in the front row, you can also see the working situation of the puppeteers and musicians at close range. These traditional Burmese musical instruments are perfect in their performances, and the musician's concentrated expression is very admirable.
Where to see Puppet Theatre in Myanmar?
The Myanmar International Puppet Festival is held at Mandalay Marionettes Theater every April. The purpose of the festival is to hope that the puppet show as a traditional theatre art of Burma can be inherited and developed in the rapidly developing modern world, and also hopes to push the traditional puppet show of Burma to a wider world stage.
If you want to go to the theater to watch a puppet show, remember to book your ticket early. The more backward the position, the easier it is to be blocked by the crowd. There will be a little mosquito in the evening, remember to spray mosquito oil. A series of seminars and entertainments will be held during the festival, as well as educational courses for Burmese puppet shows. The festival will also show international puppet theatre, including elephant dances and magic shows from Thailand, as well as Burmese crafts and traditional snacks. These entertainment activities are free.