Evelien Pullens



The Hindu 15 maart 2006

Breathing life into puppetry

A BOOST: A puppet show organised at Rangayana in Mysore.
Photo: M.A. sriram

MYSORE: Puppetry is a fast vanishing form of art and entertainment. But, Rangayana, the theatre repertoire in Mysore, has embarked on a mission to revive puppetry and inspire interest in the dying form of entertainment among children.

To start with, Rangayana's artistes belonging to Rangakishore, a theatre troupe involved in staging plays for children, teamed up with Evelien Pullens, a noted puppeteer from the Netherlands, and staged four puppet shows on Rangayana premises. Rangakishore artistes held the ropes for the puppet shows under the direction of Evelien, who has been touring different parts of the world with her troupe "Maatje 90", giving performances.

The 45-minute-long puppet shows were based on the script of "Grandmothers Secret Story Storeroom", which seeks to arouse children's interest in fairy tales. Lending a contemporary significance, the show revolves around a girl child, who watches television the whole day. When the girl is introduced to the treasure-trove of grandmothers' stories, she switches to the fascinating world of stories.

Losing relevance Just like the grandmothers' fairy tales, even puppet shows are losing their relevance among the children, who are hooked to television.

Rangayana director A.G. Chidambar Rao Jambe said that the theatre repertoire will hold puppet shows on its premises soon. The Rangayana authorities are waiting for school examinations to be over to give a fresh thrust to puppet shows. "We will host puppet shows for schoolchildren. We will start approaching school authorities to send their children to the shows," an official at Rangayana told The Hindu .

Jambe said that puppetry has become an "undervalued" form of art world over. However, he said there existed a small community of puppetry lovers in the Netherlands. "Not only have the Dutch puppeteers continued their tradition, but also scripts prepared exclusively for puppet shows are available there," he said. Puppeteer Evelien Pullens, who has staged more than 2,000 shows around the world, said puppet shows arouse curiosity in spectators, particularly children. "Puppet shows mirror life," she remarked.