This week, we learnt about the use of puppetry in theatre. We went into detail about a few different types of puppetry, but most detail went into shadow puppetry, as Shadow puppetry is a widely appreciated form of theatre in China. Other types of puppetry we learnt about included hand puppets (the kind of puppets we are used to seeing by the side of ventriloquists), simple puppetry (where there are very few details as they are made out of everyday objects like an envelope and a hand), Bunraku (typically used in Japanese theatre) and body puppets.
On the subject of body puppets, our teacher went into detail about a performance he saw ages ago. He gave us detail about how the woman in the performance used the coat of her deceased husband as a body puppet. He told us about how she slipped her hand through one of the sleeves and touched her hand against her face, as a way of contacting him, and how she longed to be with him. He explained how this vivid use of puppetry caused a sorrowful feel, but also a sense of contentedness when she felt at one with her husband again.
We learnt about how different puppets are created, why they are created and watched a video on the history of it, and also how it is at the moment. We then set off to create our own puppets, in the style of the butterflies which our mandarin teacher gifted to us. They are simple creations, created by folding a triangle in two, shaving off an area to create feelers, cutting out shapes to create a pattern and folding the end to finish the piece. In the end, we finished with multiple butterflies, each of different colours, shapes, patterns and sizes.
The video we watched on the subject of Chinese shadow puppetry is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-mzqxZNp2g
Picture of our butterflies, courtesy of HC