Puppets Alive!

On my first trip to Yangon a couple of years ago, I was unable to see a puppet show as the puppet troupe listed at Lonely Planet was only doing invitational shows.  The people who were there showed me the puppets though.  I had been to the Mandalay Marionette Theater twice and I wanted to see what Yangon had.  Fortunately, on this trip I saw Htwee Oo Puppets listed at Trip Advisor.  I don’t remember seeing it at the site when I first visited Yangon in 2014.  Checked out the website and had the hotel receptionist call the listed number for reservations.

The cab we hailed at The Strand declined as he didn’t know the address.  A guy hanging around the hotel driveway offered to take us as he knew where it was.  It was a “secret” location, he said, and not many cab drivers knew where it was.  Blogs do mention the difficulty of finding the place.  Indeed, it was located at a not so ideal neighborhood.  The car stopped in front of an apartment building. Seeing the small tarpaulin sign hanging at the 2nd floor of the walk-up apartment banished any doubts.  Our driver went to a store beside the apartment and a slender young woman opened the gate to the stairs.  We climbed up and someone unlocked a wooden door and we found ourselves in a living room that had been converted into small theater with about 20 plastic seats.

On one side of the room was a wooden cabinet with puppets from other countries such as China and Vietnam.

Aside from the 5 of us were a Russian giy and a French couple.  The show started at 6pm with the same young lady who opened the gate explaining the puppets. 

One really interesting info is that Myanmar puppets are anatomically correct.

The 45-minute show featured dance scenes and fight scenes from different stories.

The entire show was hugely entertaining as the puppeteers deftly maneuvered the strings that made the puppets dance, leap, and even show facial expressions.  

My favorite scene was the finale which featured several puppets playing traditional music instruments.

After the show, we got the chance to have a photo-op with the puppets.

We even got to try animating the puppets.  It was really such a fun experience and we all left with big smiles and profuse thanks to the puppeteers.

Practicalities

The show costs 10,000 kyats per person.  

Posted below is the business card and the address in Myanmar script.

It is advisable to let your cab wait for you as I’m not sure about cabs in the area as it is primarily residential.

Categories: Myanmar | Leave a comment

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