Puppetry is an old tradition that has been in existence for over a thousand years. This tradition cuts across the different cultures of the world as almost every region across the globe practices this entertaining tradition. The tradition is an artistic expression of different forms of acting, music, designing, sculpting, writing and painting for the entertainment. The art of puppetry is diverse as each nation has their unique puppet masters. For example, the puppet in Indonesia is performed in shadow theaters with the use of rods. The Japanese puppeteers use big dolls of about 150 cm in height to perform the art of Buraku in their theaters. The European puppet masters are the popular marionettes. Each region has their own interpretation, but you can still see the similarities between them.
Puppetry in Indonesia
Puppetry is a serious business in Indonesia, especially in the islands of Java and Bali. You have to become an apprentice and be trained vigorously through all the process of becoming a puppet master. Once you have successfully passed the training, you will be honored with the title of a puppet master. This title is highly revered in the society as the position commands a lot of respect. This is because the people of Indonesia attach spiritual relevance to the art and the puppet master is also a spiritual leader. The art may be used as a public source of entertainment, but the stories performed in the shadow theaters are spiritually inspired. The puppet master is responsible for the smooth display of this art.
Puppetry in Japan
The art is also very difficult in Japan and it takes a lot of years and experience to become a puppet master here. Firstly, you have to undergo severe training before you become a part of the puppeteers that operates the gigantic puppet doll. The doll is close to 150 cm in height and so requires three puppeteers to control it. To become a puppet master in Japan, you have to control the head of the doll for at least 25 years. The Japanese take this art so seriously that there is a dedicated theater in Osaka called the National Bunraku Theater which is built to teach younger students on how to master the art of puppetry.
Puppetry in Europe
The European puppet masters use the smaller hand puppets and marionettes. The puppet masters here only masters how to operate the marionettes with both hands. This is less difficult than other cultures as the training requires lesser time. Some of the renowned puppet masters in Europe are Frank Oz and Jim Henson. The art, however, is used majorly in the entertainment of children; this is why children puppet shows are very common in Europe.
Becoming a puppet master requires a lot of time and dedication to learning the skill. First, you have to figure out your own region and how the art is practiced there. Then you need to search for schools or training centers and enroll for puppetry lessons. If you are lucky enough, you can get a puppet master to mentor you as an apprentice. The most important thing is that you have the passion for the art.