THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: While people in India are loosing interest in puppetry, a rich traditional art, we have Sara Andreis from Italy to teach puppetry to the kids in the city. She came to India to learn Hindi and more about puppet shows which is prevalent in the rural areas of North India. Fascinated by the little knowledge she had about the Indian art and culture, Sara came to India way back in 1998 as a student to learn Hindi at the Banaras University.
After that she lived in Delhi for a while. It was there that she got acquainted with some people living at the Kathputli Colony, near Patel Nagar. “Most of the inhabitants at this colony were good at making puppets and they used to conduct regular puppet shows at the theaters. Inspired by the loud applause the performers received at the end of the show, I decided to learn it. Within a few days I learned the basics of puppet making and its movements,” says Sara.
Soon, she left for Rajasthan to work as a language lecturer (Italian) in one of the universities. The Rajasthani puppeteers taught her more on string puppetry and also gave her the opportunity to see more shows. And Sara soon mastered the making of ‘Kathputli’ and string puppets. Presently she works for a software company at Technopark.
Sara takes puppet making classes for children in two batches at the summer camp organised by Goethe Zentrum. Group A has 46 students between the ages of six and 10 and in group B around 26 students between the ages of 11 and 15 who are being trained in making puppets using socks.
In three days, with one hour tutorial per day, she will guide the children in making puppets. The first session, held on Thursday, taught them how to make a simple puppet using a smiley sponge ball. On the second and third days they will be taught the basic movements of the puppet and its decoration.
To begin with, the kids were asked to fold a piece of coloured cloth provided to them and place a ball between the two folds along with a metal nut under the ball tied with a thread. Shorter ends of the cloth tied along with nuts will be the hands of the puppet to which strings were tied to make the movements. Rest of its body was let loose so that the cloth flutters as the puppet moves freely.
Nanda Nair, a seven-year-old who was seen happily moving around with her half done puppet, said, “I like the colour blue and so chose blue cloth to make my puppet.”
Buttons are used to make eyes, woolen threads for hair and the children can exhibit their creativity by beautifying it more. By the end of the camp these young puppeteers will perform a puppet show played to a German song at the centre.