SUBA UDE provides physical, creative and emotional projects for displaced persons living in welfare camps in Sri Lanka. We focus on psychosocial needs beyond food, shelter and medicine.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

This Ain't No Pinochio

Click to watch the puppet show slideshow (quicktime movie)

Click and read article about puppet show (pdf document)

$250 went a hell of long long long way last night. The show was an amazing success! It was epic.

So it started at 3. The puppeteers arrived at Matara Maha Vidyala Playground camp and started with a workshop, teaching the kids about the tradition of puppeteering in Sri Lanka and how marionettes work.

Then an Italian magician put on a show, delighting the children pulling stuff out of hats and making things disappear--your grade-A color-by-number hocus pocus. Then Israel Aid came and led an hour of dramatic/physical therapy games. The kids were in heaven, just rolling with laughter.

While the kids were going crazy, Stephanie took off to do some guerilla marketing. She grabbed a stack of flyers and ran through the streets, shoving them into hands, screaming (in Sinhala) "PUPPET SHOW TONIGHT!" Up and down the streets, she found an audience everywhere- waiting at the bus stop, in the bar, at the gas station, at the family vegetable stand (where she stopped to join-in on a board game and declare herself an Olympic champion to my 10-year-old opponent who of course beat her senseless)… She ran into a classroom full of children who, when they heard her speak Sinhala, burst into fits of laughter (imagine a dog reciting Shakespeare- that's what it is like to hear a foreigner speak Sinhala), she jumped in front of buses full of school kids, chatted up old mama's carrying baskets on their heads, stopped by a camp at a Buddhist temple and on and on until Save the Children found her and her translator lost  on the side of the road and gave them a lift back
to the camp.

When she got back, it was 6 pm, an hour before show-time. The entire camp was partying. Music was blasting, volleyballs were being spiked all over the place, a Korean NGO was making balloon animals and an enormous dance party was raging.

At 7 when the sun-set, we turned the music down and everyone brought the plastic chairs out from their shelters over to the amphitheatre. All the children sat in front on tarps- the same tarps used as walls for their "homes." This is a very large camp.  The theatre is on one side, the shelters on the other.The kids sat with their backs to the shelters. We have no doubt that when the curtain rose, they all but forgot the life behind them.

For 2 hours, a cast of marionettes, including a fire dancer, rocked out. We couldn't understand a word of it but managed to laugh our heads off. For the price of 2 Broadway show tickets, we gave 400 people an evening of laughter and fun. As the marionettes took their final bow, an ice-cream truck pulled into the camp. We gave ice-cream cones to 200 children (for $30!).

At the end of the show, the road manager leaned over to us and whispered, "now this is relief."

The poster from the event

Photos from the event


Anonymous ice fishing shelter said...

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8:50 PM

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1:28 AM

Anonymous ice fishing said...

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10:57 AM


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