Mandalay Marionettes Theater Puppet Show

A marionette is a type of puppet that is controlled by a manipulator with wires or strings from above. Marionettes are operated with the puppeteer hidden from the audience by using a vertical or horizontal control bar in different forms of theatres. In the country of Burma, marionette puppetry has played an important role in the history and development of dramatic art and culture over the last 500 years. Burmese puppetry served as a means of making people aware of current events; as a medium for educating people in literature, history, and religion; as a display of lifestyles and customs; and as mouthpieces for the people in the days of royalty.

The practice of traditional marionette puppetry in Burma has waned over the decades, and is on the verge of becoming a lost art form. In 1986, Mrs. Ma Ma Naing and Mrs. Naing Yee Mar formed the Mandalay Marionettes Theater as a step in saving this rich legacy. This troupe has been working to preserve Burmese puppetry and original Burmese traditions such as Burmese dancing and music, sculpture, sequin embroidery and painting.

The Mandalay Marionettes troupe has contributed an assortment of performance videos to the SEADL. Included in these is an introduction and overview to the Burmese marionette tradition; a ritual dance that is done to respect the Nats, or the guardian spirits of the area; the Himalayas dance, featuring the horse, monkey and demons; and a dance of an alchemist or the Zaw-Gyi dance. Daw Ma Ma Naing, one of the founders of the Mandalay Marionettes Theater, also gives a brief history about marionettes. Other videos highlight the skills of the puppeteers themselves, while demonstrating the dance of the two royal pages; a humorous dance performed by two villagers named U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe; a dance between a human being and a puppet; a romantic and sentimental dance called "Myaing Da;"and a performance from the Ramayana epic where Rama chases a golden deer for his princess, Sita.

Burmese Marionettes (Part 01) - Introduction
The video presents an overview of Burmese string puppetry, including the history of the medium, the roles puppet shows played in the past, and a description of various items that are needed for the puppet show., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.
Burmese Marionettes (Part 02) - The Typical Traditional Items, the Nats or Good Spirits Dance
Video shows the beginning of a traditional Burmese puppet show. As is customary, the show begins with three beats of the gong and cymbal and with a ritual dance to respect the guardian spirits of the area by offering coconuts and bananas., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.
Burmese Marionettes (Part 03) - Himalayan Scene; Horse, Monkey, the Dances of the Two Different Demons
This clip from the Himalayan scene shows different animal puppets such as a horse, and a monkey, and also the performances of two demons who are in charge of different places in the forest and in the palaces., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.
Burmese Marionettes (Part 04) - Alchemist (Zaw-Gyi) Dance
This video shows the dance of the puppet alchemist named Zaw-Gyi who possesses a supernatural power., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.
Burmese Marionettes (Part 05) - Daw Ma Ma Naing's Greeting with a Brief History of Marionettes
Daw Ma Ma Naing's, the founder of the Mandalay Marionettes Theater, gives an overview of the organization., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.
Burmese Marionettes (Part 06) - The Master's Creativities in Displyaing a Magnificient and Artistic Dance; Two Royal Pages Dance
This clip depicts a dance of two royal page puppets who are engaging in joking and teasing one another., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.
Burmese Marionettes (Part 07) - A Couple Dance; The U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe Dance
In this clip, puppets named U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe perform a humorous dance. The dance conveys insight into the social life of villagers who live in Burma's countryside., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.
Burmese Marionettes (Part 08) - A Comparative Dance between a Human Being and a Puppet
This video shows a comparative dance between a human being and a puppet. The human imitates the movements of the puppet., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.
Burmese Marionettes (Part 09) - Duet Dance of the Prince and the Princess, Myaing Da Dance
This video shows a romantic dance between the prince and the princess puppets. It is a traditional favorite among Burmese audiences., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.
Burmese Marionettes (Part 10) - The Last Program, a Piece of Ramayana Story
This clip shows puppets acting out a piece of the Ramayana story. In this scene, Rama chases the golden deer for his princess, Sita., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.
Burmese Marionettes (Part 11) - Credits
This video includes production credits for the Burmese Marionettes puppet show, accompanied by a musician a musician playing a Saung, a traditional Burmese harp., This item digitized and made available online with funds provided by United States Department of Education, TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information) Grant P337A05006.