Shadow puppet play at dusk under an open sky

I had high hopes when I encountered a small write-up about a shadow puppet play performed by The Maboroshi Orchestra this evening. I was expecting a larger operation but found the stage managing, from set-up to acting, was basically powered by two persons - Sturart and Livia. But I was happy I came.

I might have mistaken The Maboroshi for the good old puppeteer masters I saw some thirty years ago in Asia. Puppetry was then the masters' one and only one career, and they had been performing it their whole lives. Considering self-taught, and have only performed a couple of times in the public, this small company of two, or three (including musician Matt Dunn), is quite incredible.

The stage is a portable set-up, simple but complicated. Think about a bird and imagine how everything is packed in this tiny body. The screen is about 2 by 3 feet, lit behind by a high battery-powered tungsten light which can last for about half an hour. Coincidentally, this was also the length of the play. The black card-board paper puppets, over fifty of them, are all hand-made by the two artists. What I really love and adore is, these people do not have big budgets, but with a little help from the two Arts Council (TAC and OAC) and National Theatre School of Canada where they graduated, they've done something amazing, not touched and practised by young people anymore these days - through a fading tradition, an age-old storytelling that brings and links people together. This must be something they very much believe and love in order to have that kind of motivation.

And I really like their idea of eventually bringing this small, portable stage to different parts of Canada. Take a look at their website while they were working on the shadow play "The Man With The Wolf In His Belly". I saw this performance tonight at the Mcgregor Park. If weather permits, they will perform tomorrow night (Monday) again at the same location which is on Lansdowne Avenue, north of College Street.


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