Hands on activityWhat you will need:
- Thick A4 high quality tracing paper
- Coloured felt tips
- A laminator and lamination pouches (you will need strips of stiff clear plastic if you don't have a laminator)
- An overhead projector and clear A4 OHP sheets (or a strong desk lamp and a sheet of white cotton or thin white paper such as blank newsprint)
Planning your story
Choose one of the stories from these websites below. You could do either a traditional or a modern version.
Write a list of all the characters and all the puppets you will need to make. Sometimes more than one puppet is needed, if the character is doing something different, such as sitting, riding a horse, fighting or dying.
Also plan any scenery you may want in your story, such as mountains, water, forests, gardens or cities.
Making your scenery
Indian shadow puppets are normally made from thin leather so that some light can come through them. You will be making yours on tracing paper, coloured with felt tips. Work out how big your stage will be and use the scenery to make the space where the play will happen.
Draw out the scenes on tracing paper and colour them in with felt tips. Include plants and flowers from the Plant Cultures website, especially if they are part of the story.
If you are working with a large group or class, you could make several different scenes. If not, you could show the different places by using small extras such as a banyan tree, cloud or rock, almost like extra puppets.
Making your puppets
Draw out your characters on tracing paper using strong black lines around the edge and in any features such as faces, clothes or jewellery. Colour in the characters with felt tips and cut them out carefully. Use the websites below for ideas.
If you have a laminator, laminate each character at the top of an A4 sheet and leave a blank laminated space at the bottom so you can move the puppet around the stage without your hands showing.
Putting on the play
If you have an overhead projector, tell the story and move the puppets around on the surface of the projector, showing the play on a wall. If you don't have an overhead projector, you'll have to put on the show the traditional Indian way, holding up the puppets in front of a strong light and throwing the shadows onto a sheet of white paper or cotton.
If you have any Indian music, play it quietly in the background to provide a real Indian atmosphere. You could even offer some Indian snacks or drinks for the audience, using one of the Plant Cultures recipes in the Activities section - perhaps Indian cardamom tea.
External links to help youHindu stories
Hear the story of Rama and Sita
Read the story of Rama and Sita
Here is alonger version of the Rama and Sita story
Go to the Slaying of Dronacharya story from the Mahabharata, a great Hindu epic, the longest story in the world with 100,000 verses [link to Dronacharya.ppt from Art]
Have a look at more examples of the great Hindu stories
Have a look at the Lord Shiva and mango story on Plant Cultures too
for your play - either buy a CD of sitar and tabla music or download some here
Pictures for your characters
Pictures of Hindu gods
Sculptures of Hindu gods
Lesson Plans, images and inspiration
Rama and the Ramayana
The Story of Rama and Sita
Divali website with Rama and Sita story including audio story
Links to all major Hindu stories online, some with audio
Puppet making website