Even without words, the 15-minute hand-puppet show from the group of four Ptah Theater puppeteers from the Ukraine at Epicentrum Walk in South Jakarta provided tremendous entertainment for both children and adults.
The small, blacked-out stage, assembled from a set of suitcases, was turned into a park with a bench, lamps and a pond, on which people could ice-skate during winter. With their theatrical performance, the puppeteers brought to life their finger dolls, as they proceeded to undertake various activities at the park.
An old man reading a newspaper on the bench; some teenagers showing off their ice-skating skills; others playing with the snow; a couple making out, and two groups of young people getting involved in a fight, with some of the action conducted in slow motion.
The audience was delighted with the show, giggling and laughing throughout.
“The puppets were so cute and funny. I wish it could’ve been a bit longer,” said 7-year-old Danisha, who attended the show with her brother and grandfather.
Her grandfather, Winarno, said they would come back to see another performance the following day because the kids were not satisfied yet.
Belen Rubira’s show from Spain at the National Museum in Central Jakarta also captured the audience’s attention. The five-minute show was only performed for an audience of two, thus sparking curiosity from other visitors.
They peeped into a restaurant and witnessed what was going on between Raul, who loved cooking, and Maria, who adored eating.
Both shows were part of the Wayang World Puppet Carnival, which took place in Jakarta on Sept. 1-8. The event, which was jointly organized by the Indonesian Puppeteers’ Association (Pepadi) and the Arsari Djojohadikusumo Foundation, featured 64 puppet groups from 46 countries, with performances held at the National Museum, the National Monument (Monas), Usmar Ismail Hall in South Jakarta and Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII).
A few short performances from several artists also took place at the atrium at Epicentrum Walk.
From Indonesia, the Papermoon Puppets Theater presented the well-known Mwa Thirika, a story inspired by the political turmoil that has occurred in many countries.
Of course, the carnival would have been incomplete without some wayang shadow plays, a form of puppet theater that has been recognized as an oral heritage masterpiece by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Performers included Cahyo Kuntadi, Hadi Sutikno, Apep Hudaya, Sigid Ariyanto and Sihono, who entertained visitors with all-night performances at Monas.