Thursday, January 29, 2015

Anansi the Spider

The Oregon Shadow Theatre doesn't do nearly enough public shows in Oregon.  They often travel to Washington for performances, so Portland shows are a somewhat rare treat.  We love them!  I am so grateful that my son doesn't dismiss puppet shows offhand as boring or beneath him because they generally attract a very young audience. (I expect that the fact that we homeschool and his friends let him be himself has something to do with this.) Oregon Shadow Theatre shows are actually quite sophisticated, with gorgeous puppets, wonderful music and excellent sound effects.  The stories are complex enough to keep all ages captivated.  Afterwards they always have a question and answer session, and show the kids exactly how they constructed the puppets and what made the sound effects, which is quite inspiring!  Jasper has seen most of their shows, but I confess I was a bit excited to learn that he doesn't remember many of them well if it's been a few years.  So now I'm going to make a point of taking him to them again.  Their shows are based on specific folktales and cultural traditions from around the world, and incorporate music from each of these places.  Anansi the Spider is a  very popular West African folktale trickster, and their puppet show based on this character is charming.  Parents should remember that shadow puppet performances take place in darkened rooms, which can be a concern for very young kids. Of course my still photographs can't begin to do the shows justice, but they do at least give a glimpse of the artistry of their wonderful puppets.  My favorite was the warthog!

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