No Strings Attached: Puppetry Festival by Paper Monkey Theatre
Published 16 November 2017 at 14:39
November 3-5 TickiKids Test Patrol families were invited to No Strings Attached puppet festival that took place at Goodman Arts Centre. Organized by Paper Monkey Theatre, the festival is in the second year of running. This year No Strings Attached featured puppetry artists from all over South-East Asia and was a perfect opportunity for Singapore audience to get to know more about puppetry traditions, see various kinds of puppets and enjoy the mastery of the artists from Malaysia, Thailand, Macau and Singapore. The audience could see all 4 shows on each day of the festival. The shows were recommended for kids aged 4 and up and each performance was followed-up by a Q&A session with the artists at which they shared about their puppets and the productions.
Wayang the Tapir performed by ACX Productions from Malaysia is a modernized shadow-puppet performance, telling a story of Tapir living happily in the jungle until one day his home was destroyed by people.
A scene from Wayang the Tapir (on the left) and the Artistic Director of ACX Productions replying to the audience's questions about the show (on the right)
Highlighting the problem of deforestation, Wayang the Tapir shows children how fragile the ecological balance is and raises awareness of the world's endangered wild animals and plants.
Wayang the Tapir
Ting A Tong Theatre from Thailand brought its puppetry production The Musical Twin Pigs, which Test Patrol kids enjoyed very much. It is a simple story of two twin pigs whose favourite thing in life is playing music by the canal, but one of their instruments disappears one day and twin pigs need to find it to be able to continue playing music together.
The Musical Twin Pigs
The plot was very engaging and easy for kids to understand, and a wide variety of colourful and unusual instruments played made the show very entertaining.
Scene fromThe Musical Twin Pigs
News about Xiao An, performed by Rolling Puppet Alternative Theatre form Macau, told a story of Xiao An whose grandfather passed away leaving him all alone. TV was Xiao An’s only company and one day he decided that he needed to be in the news headlines, and that was when strange things started happening in the magical village.
Scenes from News about Xiao An
The performance was recommended for older teens and adults, as the storyline and the topics brought up were a little bit complicated for little children to understand. However, most of Test Patrol kids that attended the show liked it anyway, because of the intricate combination of approaches used for making the story come alive: there were tiny puppets that were magnified on a projection screen, actors, wearing huge masks on their heads and various visual effects, including light and video.
Actors of Rolling Puppet Alternative Theatre posing with the masks used in News about Xiao An
Doggy and MeowMeow props (on the left) and a scene from the performance (on the right)
Stage design was minimalistic with puppets made of folded paper with clips on top. However, the main characters, Doggy and MeowMeow were easily recognizable, and once they were brought to life by the amazing actors, they immediately won the audience’s hearts.
A scene from Doggy and MeowMeow
Paper Monkey Theatre did a great job, and the festival they organized could easily be a perfect event to introduce your child to theatre, thanks to its very nice low-key atmosphere without too much of a crowd or noise. Older kids and their parents could learn about different puppetry traditions and ways of interaction with puppets that they have never seen before.