This October I had the privilege of attending the six edition of the Pesta Boneka, International Puppet Festival Biennale. Created in 2008 by the Papermoon Puppet Theater, it brings together puppeteers and performance artists from around the world in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The acts are presented both in traditional theaters, as well as local villages. The beautiful and energetic setting of Yogyakarta is a perfect backdrop for this to happen.
The culmination, and arguably the highlight of the festival was a trip to Desa Kopek, which is a tiny village about 15 km south of Yogyakarta, in which the whole village gathers to join in the festivities. Each of the puppeteer groups cooked a dish from their home country for the village and we all got to taste an eclectic palette of food. The best part was to witness the random mingling of many cultures and life experiences that happened there.
Because of the magnificent fundraising done by the Papermoon Puppet Theater, all performances were free to the public and it was great to see so many children and their families come out for the shows. I was approaching the festival from the perspective of performance art and certainly could be classified as such. Although the level overall was high, I was particularly impressed with the following performers:
Tom Lee and Lisa Gonzales (USA)
Peter Balkwill and Papermoon Theater (Canada/Indonesia)
Flying Balloon Puppets and Gwen Knox (Indonesia/Australia)
Tiny Feat (Singapore)
Kohey Kawamura (Japan)
Marta Sieczak (Poland)(Animation)
I will be at the next one two years from now! Don’t miss it, such a rare experience.