There is a wonderful little puppet theater in Nyaung Shwe, (the main little town on Inle Lake), named Aung's Puppetshow. It is a four generation production certified as a cultural heritage site by the government. We caught the late show at 8:30pm, and it turned out that we were the only patrons and so were treated to a fantastic personal show. The back wall of the small theater housed a large collection of antique puppets made by Mr. Aung's uncle in Bagan where the theater used to be based. The ceiling and all other walls other than the state were covered in more modern creations made for tourists.
|Magician puppet from the 1970's (Kerry Laws)|
The puppets themselves are about two feet tall and have roughly 10 to 20 strings all deftly manipulated by the diminutive Mr. Aung. The movements he was able to communicate through the puppets were enchantingly lifelike. He is a true master.
|The Ogre puppet (Kerry Laws)|
The show itself was a collection of vignettes, each featuring a different character from a monkey, horse, magician, a ball player and many more. The two standouts were the magician, which involved a lot of string spins, high kicks, and dancing. The other favorite was the ball player who juggles a thatch ball from knee, to foot, to hand, to head through means I could only almost ascertain.