Puppets step forward

Anurupa Roy of Katkatha Puppet Arts speaks about the magic of puppets and how the stories resonate with the contemporary world

December 13, 2016 08:49 pm | Updated 08:49 pm IST

A scene from ‘Dinosaur’

A scene from ‘Dinosaur’

For the young theatre lovers in Hyderabad, the dose of puppetry came in the form of dinosaur. Staged by Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust, Delhi, the performance ‘Dinosaur’ brought to the fore the magic of puppets and was part of the 7th edition of Hyderabad Children’s Theatre Festival held at Shilparamam.

A few hours before the performance, Anurupa Roy shares how the story of dinosaur has a resonance in the contemporary world. A 45-minute non-verbal performance, Dinosaur tells the story of a little baby dinosaur, which is looking for its mother. He thinks everyone is his mother and follows little creatures. He meets a group of carnivorous rapters (Rapters hunt dinosaurs in packs). Most of them want to eat him but one eventually takes to him and teaches him ways of the world . A natural calamity forces the dinosaurs to start their migration and the baby dinosaur finally meets his kind, T-Rex. “This is our 20th show and we have performed it in Bangalore, Delhi, Bombay and Pune,” exclaims Anurupa.

Katkatha Puppet Arts has had a long journey in the world of puppets. In fact, this is their 10th anniversary. “This is our 10th year as a registered trust but 18th year as a group. It has quite a long journey,” she smiles. Anurupa observes the puppetry is gaining a lot of momentum now. “Puppetry never disappoints. We have seen a growth in audience. When we started, there were fewer people but things are on a upswing. There are more puppeteers in the field and many more younger people coming forward to join it,” she states and adds, “Theatre actors did not take puppetry seriously for a very long time. It had not been looked as a mainstream art form but we have had a lot of serious interest from the actors from the stage and the kind of festivals we are being invited to is also changed. The fact that they are accepting puppetry in that world and milieu means that things are changing.”

One of their recent productions Mahabharata in puppetry created a big impact. Anurupa admits it being one of their challenging works. “We spent three years working on it and we premièred this year in August in Rangashankara in Bangalore. We have finished about six or seven shows but it feels like a beginning and will take at least a year for this show to settle down,” she points out.

Besides the staging of Dinosaur in Hyderabad, Katkatha also held a puppet making workshop for children in Hyderabad. The group is looking forward to create a centre for children. “We are trying to build a space for children which is interactive and imaginative,” she concludes.

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