You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Puppeteers fashion new world with junk, plastic, newspapers

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

To many, puppetry is all about traditional marionettes of Rajasthan, the Kathputlis, or other rod, string, glove and shadow puppets from across the country. Yet, contemporary Indian puppeteers are now experimenting with junk, newspaper strips, plastic and other materials.

Such is the story of a new material theatre production "Life in Progress" by Katkatha, a Delhi-based Puppet Arts Trust, which uses the medium of puppets to delve into the culture of trash.

"We played with all forms of trash we could possibly find. There were bundles of newspapers, plastic bottles and other junk we would experiment with. For several months we would just play, trying to create impressions from the trash, to bring out a form of art which would reflect upon the contemporary scenario," says Anurupa Roy, Managing Trustee, Katkatha.

The production team comprising nine enthusiastic puppeteers "played around with trash, trying to create a technique which would steer away from the conventional forms of puppetry."

For more than six months, these enthusiasts only played with junk and recorded video footage of more than 200 hours of their puppets in action.

"Life in Progress" a one-hour improvised puppetry act began to shape up.

"The idea simply was to bring life to dead material. We not only wanted to work with the figure of the puppet but its philosophy too. And it was also for the first time when we did not have real puppets, it was only the impression of puppet we were working with," says Anurupa.

The improvised form of material theatre can be best visualised with nine people under a giant sheet of newspaper, possibly of dimensions 30ft by 30 ft, changing shapes, simulating jelly fish-like and dinosauresque creatures.

The act put up by the group is devoid of any narrative, script or even music.

"It is not based on a script, although there are elements of dance and some sound effects (made by trash such as bottles) to it but it is mostly about the sounds created by movements under paper. Many members are trained dancers and thus, every movement has been carefully choreographed. Yet, it is inherently about the visuals that audience can see," she says.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, November 14 2013. 12:30 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU