PUPPETRY- Linking EDUCATION with CULTURE
Puppetry has been traditionally used as a means to transmit knowledge about the myths, folklore, legends rich in cultural heritage. Puppets have been used by storytellers to illuminate and entertain for centuries. It is one of the easiest ways to act out, act up, and entertain and to educate.
With changing times the art of puppetry has developed and is no longer a past time recreation. It has played an important role in disseminating knowledge. Out of the most important use of puppetry today is in education for children. It has also been selected to as a tool for imparting education in many schools. Learning through play is fundamental to our children's education. A Teacher can use puppets as a medium of education, entertainment and therapy for disabled kids.
Puppets can encourage creative play also stimulating children’s imagination while involving them into spontaneous learning through joyful activity. Puppets can be used in classroom learning as a play way method of bringing story time to life as all puppets come to life as characters. Puppetry if planned well can play a fundamental part in deepening the comprehension of the lesson in any subjects. The children are highly engaged and motivated when the puppets are used, consequently more children became involved in the lesson and more children engaged in conversation. Puppets provide an essential link between learning and play which makes them wonderful teaching tools. Puppetry imbibes elements of all art forms like painting, sculpture, literature, music, dance, drama, and enables students to develop their creative skills.
Ventriloquism: Implementation of the Art of puppetry and ventriloquism can make teaching learning a joyful experience. Ventriloquism is an act in which a person (a ventriloquist) manipulates his or her voice so that it appears that the voice is coming from the puppet. It is called a belly language as the puppeteer has to bring out the voice from his belly and not from his throat. A ventriloquist is skilled at speaking without moving his or her lips and the audience sees only the mouth of the puppet moving.
Out of the most important use of puppetry today, is in education for children but Puppetry is not a part of educational curriculum. Some school teachers use puppetry as teaching-aid in education. In India, the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) is training teachers on puppetry in education. The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), along with its State bodies like State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT), are also encouraging puppetry in education.
Whether it is a puppetry show in the classroom teaching – learning practice or a puppetry show in the television, or in the theater, it delights the children. This traditional art form of puppetry can effectively transmit knowledge and is appealing to not only children but is also a source of entertainment even for adults.
WORKSHOP ON PUPPETS AT KALAKSHETRA:
We visited the Kalakshetra at Guwahati city to learn and understand the art of traditional puppetry of Assam. We interacted with the puppeteers who gave us the basic idea of preparation of string puppets and how they are manipulated..
PREPARATION OF THE STRING PUPPET:
The puppet figure itself is a work of art like sculpture and painting. Puppets may be of various sizes ,and range from simplest shapes to elaborately articulated figures. The string puppet has a jointed body to allow the movement. The head is either made of wood, clay, thermocol or paper-mache and the body and limbs are stuffed with rags, cotton or saw-dust .Sometimes thermo cols are shaped into body and limbs .The puppet has many joints and 3 to 9 strings are attached to the puppet which are controlled by the puppeteer.
MANIPULATION OF THE PUPPET:
Unlike glove and shadow puppets (which are operated from above the screen), the string puppets are operated from above the stage. The puppeteer stands behind the stage and manipulates the puppets with strings attached to a small rod-like wooden prop which he holds with one hand .Sometimes the strings are tied to the fingers of the puppeteer. The puppeteer uses his skills (by controlling, loosening or pulling the relevant strings) in manipulation to produce a wide range of movements along with dialogues and music. A little movement of the string causes the puppets to produce movements of the hands, neck and shoulder. A puppeteer is able to show a variety of movements according to his ability and dexterity in manipulation.
Generally one puppeteer controls one puppet, but when some complicated movements are to be presented, two or more puppeteers may co-operate to manipulate one puppet. In a puppetry show there may be one to five puppets manipulated in a stage with restricted space.
REVIVAL OF PUPPETRY IN INDIA:
Puppetry forms an important part of folk –culture in India, particularly in the villages. Puppetry in India was losing its popularity but in 1970 the puppet theatre was revived with the efforts of Sangeet Natya Academy (at Delhi) and in modern time’s puppetry is not only used as a source of entertainment but also in important use in education for children and adult alike. It is also used as therapy also.
IMAGES OF WORKSHOP ON ROD PUPPETRY AT Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, Guwahati Assam India.
Images of the culminating presentation of the workshop where the students of the Primary Classes created some wonderful glove puppets during an activity based programme. Ventriloquism was also a part of the programme.
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