with a pagoda festival in Myanmar’s Sagaing Region, there will be two overnight
puppet shows on November 21-22. Such authentic cultural shows have not taken
place since 11 years back.
shows are set to stage on a plot of glebe land, which has been years previously
reserved for such shows led by late senior marionette artist Shwebo U Tin
Maung, in the fencing around the Kaung Hmu Taw Pagoda in the Region’s capital
host shows successfully, preparation activities – of singing, crying, dialogue,
and performing – are well underway at the Myanmar Marionette Theatre in
the marionette dances as a rule are of chorus ladies, monkey, horse, ogre, Ko
Gyi Kyaw (drunkard), royal page boys, romance, and U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe,
which are usually followed by dramas of Jataka stories like Vidooya and Saddan
to a 11-year disconnect of the shows, the number of those who are well-versed
in marionette performances has been found much limited. It is a challenge to
organize performers now,” said a marionette artist Daw Ma Ma Naing of Mandalay
planned to keep the audience enjoying the performances of Myanmar traditional
music and magic shows, before hosting puppet shows later,” Daw Ma Ma Naing
are only two artists, who have inherited the art of performing marionette shows
from the then popular artist Shwebo U Tin Maung, namely U Pann Aye, an
87-year-old marionette string artist, and Shwebo Kyi, a 69-year-old woman
artist well-versed in singing, crying and dancing.
only Shwebo Kyi will perform at the pagoda festival shows planned to host.
rather aged. It’s a challenge to my health. Yet, I have no choice but to rise
to the challenge, performing the shows,” said Shwebo Kyi.
dramas of Jataka stories like Vidooya and Saddan Elephant were not so
difficult, she said, adding that the techniques and practices were well rooted
in her heart.
well, U Pann Aye pronounced he longed much for the art, despite the fact that
his age could not allow him to take part in the planned shows.
shows were essential ingredients in pagoda festivals long ago.
marionette shows have not taken place in pagoda festivals for more than 20
because such shows have been forced to pave the way for non-dramatic
performances, bi-scopes, plays, and musical stage shows, in the wake of Shwebo
U Tin Maung’s death,” said Daw Ma Ma Naing.
feel much delighted at the returns of marionette shows over recent years,” she
the records of marionette shows, Daw Ma Ma Naing said of the origin of the art
that the term ‘marionette string artists’ was found only at the year 1444 (15th
she has refuted an academic claim that the art of performing marionette shows,
which was called ‘Myanmar’s royal art’ in consecutive dynasties as well,
originated in the 11th-century Bagan dynastic era.