Be mesmerized and delve in to the world of puppetry at the 15th Ishara International Puppet Theatre Festival this year. With participation from countries such as Afghanistan, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Palestine, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the festival laden with fascinating stories and varied themes of peace, environment, freedom among others is on till February 10 in Delhi, Gurugram and Chandigarh. Using traditional and modern forms of puppetry, ranging from rod to string puppets, mixed performances with dance, theatre, music and more, the festival presents pioneering puppetry entertainment and storytelling for all ages.
While Indonesia’s The Theft of Sita, a modern reinterpretation of Ramayana, features mixed media performance with shadow puppetry; Home Sweet Home from Palenstine will warm your hearts with a tale of seven-year-old differently-abled boy. Also be prepared to be amazed by Iran’s famous marionette and oldest puppet character-Mobarak as he takes you on a musical journey.
Naris Furmuli, who has directed The Merchant and the Parrot, says, “It’s a musical show that gives the message of peace. The story is based on Persian Poet Rumi’s work and follows a merchant’s journey to India.”
Having earlier travelled across cities such as Jaipur, Mumbai and Chennai, the festival has come a long way, “It’s been thirty years of Ishara puppet theatre. And the love for puppetry has grown in people. The journey has been positive and by word of mouth, the festival has spread over the world. This is the first time where we’ll have Palestine performing,” says Dadi D Pudumjee, founder, The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust.
He adds, “Many performances this year have themes, from existential to everyday themes such as Apples and Oranges performed by the Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust, which speaks on the need for tolerance,” says Pudumjee. “Artists from around the world are participating and we always select something different. And then there is a very interesting film on February 8 called, In the Shadows of Time, a documentary on the shadow puppets of Orissa,” he says. The Gurugram leg of the event is taking place at the Artemis Hospital in sector 51.
Apart from the screening of the documentary, the festival also features an exhibition, Dadi D Pudumjee – A Puppeteer’s Journey, at India International Centre. It displays puppets created during Pudumjee’s sutradhar puppet theatre days at Shri Ram Centre for Arts and Culture, apart from his works for television, films and theatrical productions.
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- What: Ishara International Puppet Theatre Festival
- Where: India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road . The Gurugram leg of the event is at Artemis Hospital, sector 51.
- On Till: February 10
- Timings: 7pm
- Nearest metro station: Jor Bagh on Yellow line