One of Myanmar’s traditional forms of entertainment is Marionette Puppet Theater. In the past, the puppets were more influential. They helped spread information about current events and ideas. The puppet shows also educated people on literature, history and religion. Now, the cultural show is primarily for entertainment.
We went to see the Mandalay Marionettes. They have some really elaborate colorful marionettes and several skilled puppeteers. There are some classic stories that the puppets depict—2 demons fighting, a prince and princess, a monkey king, etc. These classic stories were definitely culturally interesting. The show has several intriguing acts. My favorite part was when the pulled up the curtain so that we could see the marionettes and the puppeteers. It was neat to see how the marionettes worked.
There were also some mesmerizing traditional dances. The women wear long dresses from wrist to ankle that with a train of fabric that extends from their feet to emphasize their movements. The music has a strong beat that the dancers pose to the beat and change moves quickly.
Another highlight was the local music that accompanies the show. The music is very lively and unique. After the show, we looked at the instruments for a bit and then they also let us climb in them to try them out. Two of the biggest instruments are built on a wooden frame with many small instruments inside, organized incrementally by size. It was a special experience to try them.
I think this show is culturally relevant to anyone who visits Myanmar. I recommend the show, if for no other reason, to support this dying art.