(6th Grade, Corte Madera Middle School, Portola
This project will be most successful if done following the Introductory
Activities on The Ramayana.
In this activity students create and perform their own shadow puppet
version of the Ramayana.
Image of wayang performance courtesy of Asian
at traditional puppets in the Image
Library and by searching for "wayang" on the Internet.
You may have your class write their
own script organized around the Southeast Asian scenes summary in
Or use the Middle
School Script based on the Indian version written by my 6th
grade student at Corte Madera Middle School.
characters or pieces of scenery.
I listed the puppets needed from the script, including the scenes,
and had students choose their model from a group of four. The students
then improvised the model depending upon the scene. For example,
there were eight different Rama's. Students became very adept at
creating a "working" bow for Rama. (# of picture) It is best to
give the students very little instruction at this point and just
allow the "creative juices" to flow.
Rama and Lakshmana
needed for Javanese Shadow Puppets
- Legal size manila folders (1/2 for each student), and/or large
- Hole punches in various sizes (1/8mm, ¼ mm, 3/8 mm,
and 1/2mm) Can be purchased in fabric/craft stores.
- Metallic gold and silver paint that can be used on all surfaces
- ½" Paper fasteners
- Exacto knives and rubber boards
- Glitter in various colors and in "shaker" containers
- 23 ½ 'Bamboo gardening stakes (You will need approximately
three per student)
and cut out puppets using an exacto knife.
Students can use pieces of doily and a small hole punch for ornamentation.
When all the body parts are finished, attach the pieces together
using paper fasteners.
Once their model is complete, they remove the fasteners and paint
with metallic paint. I also recommend painting both sides of the
puppet. It becomes more durable and can withstand more use/abuse.
If they choose to use colored glitter it is best to shake over
the wet paint.
|Scene and background "props" were then created
using the large tag board when needed, paint, whole punch, doilies,
and exacto knives.
|Attach each moving part of the
puppets and scenery pieces to sticks so they can be manipulated by
the puppeteer. I used bamboo gardening stakes, tape and wire.
The puppet shadows are backlit (in our case
by an overhead projector light) on to cotton batting. A parent of
one of the students built our frame using this sketch we found at
the Asian Art Museum. We put the frame up on a table so the puppeteers
could sit behind and below it.
Image courtesy of Asian Art Museum
|Scenes from the 2002 Class Production:
(photos courtesy of Mark Ashida):
Shadowplay Script: Written and performed in 2000 by Donna Kasprowicz'
6th grade class at Corte Madera Middle School, Portola Valley, California.
puppets for use with an overhead projector. Demonstration by Dede Tisone-Bartels.