Another absolutely lovely kind of pieces you can fetch for your indoor celebration of Carnival is the Shadow Theatre so, with a bit of cheating, I bring you some Shadow Theatres on this Thursday. It is usually considered a prelude to cinematography and uses flat cut-out figures, one piece or articulated, that are held between […]
Another absolutely lovely kind of pieces you can fetch for your indoor celebration of Carnival is the Shadow Theatre so, with a bit of cheating, I bring you some Shadow Theatres on this Thursday. It is usually considered a prelude to cinematography and uses flat cut-out figures, one piece or articulated, that are held between a translucent white screen and a source of light. A similar form of entertainment and storytelling is the kamishibai, which uses flat paper or wooden figures, without the light special effects.
Matt from Southampton crafts beautiful theatres of the second nature, the one for the kamishibai, and does so under the name of BalDorPuppets. His theatres are already equipped to tell specific stories: in his full fairy-tale set you’ll find backdrops and characters to tell the Three Little Piglets (available also individually here), The Cockerel The Cat And The Young Mouse (an Aesop fable retold by La Fontaine, also available individually here), Red riding Hood and Frau Holle (also here).
My favourite piece, however, is his grand theatre, measuring 70×44 cm, with characters for all the fairy-tales mentioned above.
The background is translucent, so you can also use it to add shadow effects.
Canadian Shadow Puppets
Liska Myers is the artisan behind the Adventureinabox shop: you can buy or manufacture a shadow theatre separately, or use any kind of home-made contraption as a screen and her puppets are sure to keep you busy.
The first set is based on Nursery Rhimes such as:
- Mary Had a Little Lamb: all you need is Mary and a Lamb, but you might want to add some of the children who laugh at them at school, and the awful teacher who turns the lamb away;
- Itsy-Bitsy Spider, with its spider and chimney;
- Little Miss Muffet (you’ll probably have to re-cast the spider);
- Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, for which you’ll need a sheep, a master, a dame and a boy down a street;
- Little Bo Peep, in which the sheep are lost, so you can let them rest;
- Jack, Be Nimble (Jack and a candlestick will do);
- Jack and Jill, in which you’ll learn that girls will always be blamed for a boy’s ineptitude;
- Hickory Dickory Dock (the mouse and a clock);
- Hickety, Pickety, also known as Hickety Pickety My Black Hen;
- Three Blind Mice, for which you’ll really need the farmer’s wife;
- One Two Three Four Five Once I Caught a Fish Alive.
A second set is for creating Fairy-Tales. It features your regular well-dressed youngster (a prince, a poorly armed knight, a page), a fair maiden with the hint of a crown, a young winged fairy, a witch (good or bad, it’s up to you to decide!), a dragon, a beast/ogre/weresomething, a thinly-bearded king, and a frog. There are also objects such as a castle, a pumpkin, and a rose.
The third set I’m bringing you is for creating fairy-stories: it has the same young fairy of the previous set and another lantern-bearing fairy, some huge flowers and mushrooms, a winged pied-piper, a prancing fairy-like character, another somehow male fairy flying, a fairy-guard and a snail to ride, and an inhabited pumpkin.
Sicilian Wooden Framework
Should you be completely unable to make your own frame, as I am, you can find one here. They have it in different measures.