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Create a Thai Style Shadow Puppet (activity)

Shadow puppet of Rama, from the Thai version of the Ramayana

Shadow puppet of Rama, from the Thai version of the Ramayana, 1900-1950. Thailand. Painted perforated leather with wooden handle. Gift of the Randall Museum Friends, 2010.534.

Shadow puppet of a monkey warrior, 1900-1950

Shadow puppet of a monkey warrior, perhaps Hanuman, in an attentive pose, from the Thai version of the Ramayana, 1900-1950. Thailand. Painted perforated leather with wooden handle and bamboo support. Gift of the Randall Museum Friends, 2010.538.

Objective: 

Create your own shadow puppet and perform a scene from the Ramayana.

Duration: 
30 minutes
Keyword Results: 

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: Rama and Hanuman (see "Downloads" above); videos of Thai shadow puppet performances; 8.5” x 11” transparency film; scissors; clear tape; glue stick; permanent markers with various colors; sequins; hole punch; 2 skewers or thin dowels (Optional: Glitter or glitter pens)

Procedure:

  1. Learn more about Thailand’s national epic, Ramakian (Thai version of the epic of the Ramayana and check-out videos of Thai shadow puppet performances by researching online.
  2. Photocopy or print shadow puppet templates onto transparency film sheets.
  3. Embellish your puppet with colored markers and sequins.
  4. Cut out your shadow puppet along the outline.
  5. Use a hole punch, scissors or x-acto knife to cut out the background of the puppet.
  6. Tape the skewers or dowels to the back of the puppet.
  7. Perform an excerpt with your friends and family. 
  8. Have fun!

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