Shadow Theatre

Francisco Tropa (shadows), David Maranha and Gabriel Ferrandini (percussions)

The Shadow Theatre presentation by Francisco Tropa at Torreão Nascente da Cordoaria was part of the exhibition Sombras, Máscaras e Títeres da coleção do Museu da Marioneta [Shadows, Masks and Puppets from the Museu da Marioneta collection].

The story of Cinderella in Robert Walser’s version is at the root of Francisco Tropa’s work, who used shadow puppets from China and Indonesia (Bali and Java) to produce his film.

In traditional shadow theatre, the silhouettes are moving behind a canvas, lit by an oil lamp. In Indonesia, the puppet master is called dalang and plays an essential role in the show: he is at the same time actor, director and conductor. While moving the characters, he recites the text and directs the gamelan (instrument and orchestra composed of gongs and bowls), which gives rhythm to the whole story.

The figures are cut into animal skin and painted with natural pigments. In the case of Chinese puppets, the heads can stand out from the bodies and it is them who indicate the character.

But the differences are found mainly in the repertoire of the shows: while in China the shows are based on operas or traditional tales, in Indonesia the repertoire focuses on the epic poems Ramayana or Mahabharata, and religious or moral themes are also introduced.

Excellent carriers for stories and the oral transmission of habits and customs, shadow puppets are considered predecessors of cinema, because like in cinema the image is being projected onto the screen by rays of light.

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Related Exhibition

Date
Title
Artists
Curatorship
Gallery
25.05.2016
– 02.10.2016
Sombras, Máscaras e Títeres da Colecção do Museu da Marioneta [Shadows, Masks and Puppets from the Museu da Marioneta Collection] with António Viana, Francisco Tropa, Jorge Queiroz, Susanne Themlitz
António Viana, Francisco Tropa, Jorge Queiroz, Susanne Themlitz
Torreão Nascente da Cordoaria Nacional