Opera dei Pupi,
Sicilian Puppet Theatre
puppet plays portraying epic sagas, emerged in Sicily in the
early 19th century and remained popular until the 1950s.
Puppeteers prided themselves on their own performance traditions
and techniques and passed them down through their families. The
performances involve improvization based on plot outlines, and
use exquisitely crafted puppets and props. Plots came from poems,
romances and popular librettos, but dialogue is improvised.
puppets are intricately crafted and feature highly exaggerated
expressions. The brightly painted wings and backdrops are also
very much appreciated. Puppeteers left the carving, painting and
design to specialist craftsmen, who employed traditional methods
handed down over the decades.
Opera dei Pupi has
been in decline since the development of the entertainment
industry and the advent of television. Social changes in
Sicilian towns and neighbourhoods also took their toll. Many
puppeteers were forced to abandon their profession.
include master training workshops for young puppeteers, Sicilian
puppet theatre festivals and awards. National and international
performances and a school of puppetry, are envisioned.