The Shadow Theatre Budrugana from Georgia

In 1993 I went to the National Puppetry Festival in San Fransisco and saw the Shadow Theatre Budrugana from Georgia. (That’s the country of Georgia, not the state.) Now, I’d seen shadows before, but this was a troupe of hand shadow puppeteers. Everything in their shows was produced by shadows of human hands. Nothing I’ve seen since has rivaled them.

I have a clip of one of their shows on video tape from that festival and used it while teaching for years. Everytime someone posts a YouTube clip of a hand shadow puppeteer, I do a search to see if Theatre Budrugana has anything online.

Today they did.

This is a scene from one of their other shows. Look at the fluidity of the bear and the water that the duck is in.

This is an overview with a lot of different clips, plus some backstage photos. Notice how the hands look like random shapes until you see the shadow on the screen? It’s astounding work. (The second clip is from the show that I had on video. I still want to see the whole thing of that again.)

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2 Responses

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal

      Yes, the bears are what I fell in love with the first time I saw them. In these clips when the bear is dipping his paw in the water to wash his face astounds me. It would be beautiful manipulation with any puppet, but knowing that it’s just a pair of hands astounds me.