What happens when the King of Fruits marries the Queen of Fruits?

Australia's Snuff Puppets' team with the start of a giant puppet in the making for People's Puppets Project for George Town Festival next month. — Picture by KE Ooi
Australia's Snuff Puppets' team with the start of a giant puppet in the making for People's Puppets Project for George Town Festival next month. — Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, June 17 — If you want to know, watch giant puppets play out this scene at the People’s Puppet Project (PPP) during George Town Festival next month.

For the first time in Malaysia, Australia’s premiere giant puppet theatre company, Snuff Puppets, is bringing the PPP project here; they will work with the local community to create, build and perform in the giant puppets.

Project artistic director Daniele Poidomani said they will incorporate local cultural elements into the performances by the giant puppets that can stand up to two metres high.

“They will play out a story that has local cultural significance and it will also be a celebration of the diversity here,” he said of the performance that will stretch out to between 30 to 40 minutes on July 30 and 31 during the A+SEAN Showcase.

Under the PPP, the Snuff Puppets team that arrived early this week held a brainstorming session with local participants and volunteers for ideas and suggestions of characters for the puppets.

They then come up with an outline for the story that the characters will play out; it will be unique with local cultures and influences mixed in.

There will be nine characters altogether where the King of Fruits (the durian) and the Queen of Fruits (the mangosteen) will be paired up and prepped for a wedding by a conchita or a mak nyah.

Somewhere in between there will also be a banana tree, a pontianak, a farmer and three peacock horses fashioned in the style of the local kuda kepang.

All these characters are giant puppets, made by local participants and volunteers, that will be “worn” by selected participants to act out the full story.

The puppets, made from bamboo, cane, cloth and Styrofoam, will be designed and built within a two-week period.

“We will build and complete the whole production from start to finish within two weeks,” Poidomani said.

The giant puppets will be performing at the wide open space of the Esplanade field on July 30 and 31 and will be free to watch. It is one of the many performances and shows lined up for George Town Festival.

Find out more about GTF events at georgetownfestival.com.