Balinese Puppetry Adding New Dimension To Theater Program

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Balinese shadow puppetry is adding a new dimension to both the theater and Southeast Asia studies programs at Ohio University.

OU theater professor Dr. William Condee has been researching the different forms of puppetry in Southeast Asia.

Condee said Balinese puppetry is unlike anything found in American theater.

"It's a very different form,"  Condee said.  "[It is] very different from puppetry in America or really any kind of theater in America because the performances will last anywhere from about four hours in Bali, or in Java, up to eight or nine hours long."

Condee said the length of the performance is related to the spiritual and religious aspect of the show.

"So the human audience that is watching doesn't sit in rapt attention for all four to eight hours, but will come and go as they wish,"  he said.  "They'll be eating, they'll be drinking, they'll be smoking, they'll be gambling.  They come and go anytime they wish.  They don't just sit there watching it for the entire time."