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Create Balinese Shadow Puppets (activity)

Content Standards (California):
APV/VA  k.2.2: Demonstrate beginning skill in the use of tools and processes, such as the use of scissors, glue, and paper in creating a three-dimensional construction.
APV/VA 2.3.3:  Identify and discuss how art is used in events and celebrations in various cultures, past and present, including the use in their own lives.
APV/VA 6.1.1: Identify and describe all the elements of art found in selected works of art (e.g., color, shape/form, line, texture, space, value).
APV/VA 7.3.1 Research and describe how art reflects cultural values in various traditions throughout the world. VPA/T 3.2: Students apply processes and skills in acting, directing, designing, and script writing to create formal and informal theatre, film/videos, and electronic media productions and to perform in them.

Materials:
Templates: Arjuna Shadow Puppet, Jogormanik Shadow Puppet; Ramayana and Mahabharata Performance Outlines; two brads, two sticks (12 in. long), hole punch, masking tape, coloring pencils; card stock; Video (see below): Arjuna's Meditation

Procedure:

  1. Watch the video Arujuna's Meditation to get a sense of how music, voice, and puppet manipulation come together during a performance.
  2. Download and print the Arjuna Shadow Puppet and Jogormanik Shadow Puppet templates.
  3. Cut out the shapes carefully. Use small brads to connect the joints. Attach sticks to each hand and also along the body of the puppet. 
  4. Once the puppets are completed, reenact key scenes from the Ramayana or the Mahabharata or perform the scenes using improvisation. Make sure to include the jester characters, who offer advice to the main characters as well as provide comic interludes between story scenes; they may also be used to comment on contemporary concerns of the audience.