To Manipulate The Myanmar String Puppets
are three methods
of manipulating the Myanmar String
Single String Handling
Strings Handling and
( 1) Single String Handling
Single strings used to walk or dance the puppet. It is connected
to the knees of the puppet. So it's main purpose is to move the
legs. Normally when we manipulate such kind of characters
like Ogres and Alchemist , we use this technique , single string
handling. The hands are no use in this movement so the hand strings
( arm & palm ) are to be dead tied together to the thumb on
When we use this technique for the prince , princess and the page
boy , the hands are to pick up the pearl beads with single hand
or both and tied together to the thumb.
( 2 ) Double Strings Handling
The strings that are connected to the arm and palm are used to show
the gestures , manners or the action of a puppet. And the hands
are to move the jerky dance and to pick up the pearl beads with
single hand or both , this method is applied. Mostly we use this
movement for the jerky dance
of the prince and the princess.
( 3 ) Triple Strings Handling
This technique is used when both hands and feet are desired to dance.
string , arm string , and palm strings must be held together and
the arm string , twisted clockwise in the right hand by the thumb.
After that all three strings are to be hold together again and put
them in front of the puppet.
We use this technique for the prince , princess , lady votaress
and the page boy to get a beautiful dance.
to hold the Myanmar String Puppets
When manipulating a Myanmar marionette , the handle must be held
in the left hand and the strings are to be held in the right hand.
The way to hold the handle is , the handle ( cross bar ) must be
on the index finger. Set the middle finger free and the back cross
bar must be between the thumb and the folded finger and the little
finger. It is important to hold the handle in the correct way.
The hip string of the puppet must be placed on the middle of the
palm and is to be controlled by the ring finger not to fall down.
The liveliness of a puppet entirely depends on the movements of
the left hand. Even the slightest movement of the left hand with
the life strings give a puppet " life ", nodding, tilting
head or making the bosom fall and rise as if breathing. In this
way, movements of the heads can be manipulated with the appropriate
movement of the handle.
When holding the strings in the right hand, the thumb must be stretched
out. The string is on the thumb and it goes under the index finger
and on the other three fingers. The strings are to be adjusted on
the hand to get center.
One important thing is the left hand, which is holding the handle
must be stretched out straight, lifted high enough ; let the feet
of the puppet touch the floor, standing tall, so that the puppet
would not be looking awkward. So you have to be strong enough to
keep lifting and manipulating the puppet for a long time without
rest. In order to make the puppet look alive, the handle must be
kept moving while manipulating. So also, the head of the puppet
as well must be moved in accordance with the speech or music.
1 ) Single String Handling
To manipulate the single string handling , arm string and palm string
are to be dead tied together to the thumb on the handle. So if it
is for the prince , princess or the lady votaress the pearl beads
must be picked up with single hand or both , to get that position.
How to pick up the pearl beads with single hand
To pick up the pearl beads with single hand , the right hand is
mainly used. Firstly all three strings must be pulled to the right
side of the puppet by the thumb and choose the arm and palm strings
by the middle finger . When getting those two strings , leave the
leg string on the handle. And then the arm string is to be on the
thumb and the palm string must be between the middle finger and
the index finger. You need practice to get a smooth run between
your fingers and the strings. On the other words , the strings must
be going through the fingers smoothly so that the desired gesture
can be achieved. In the process , the first thing to be done is
adjusting the length of the strings on both sides. Then the strings
are to be pulled a little to the right side and place the left side
strings between the left hand thumb and the cross-bar tightly. And
the doll must be leaning forward to make the puppet available for
the beads- picking position. The marionette must be swung side to
side. The arm string is to be tightened between the right hand thumb
and the index finger.
But , the palm string between the middle finger and the index finger
muss be a little bit lowered down to be able to pick up the beads
easily. Then , when the beads swing as a result of the movement
of the doll to the right side , the beads must be picked by the
right hand palm string. After picking them up , the strings are
pulled slowly onto the cross-bar and placed between the right hand
thumb and the bar. Then the feet can be moved or danced.
up the beads with both hands
This time , by both hands , those two strings ( arm & palm )
on your right hand fingers must be placed infront of the puppet.
Let the puppet lean forward a little bit ; Arm string is to be tightened
between the right hand thumb and the index finger. Then lower down
the palm string and try to pick up the pearl beads with both hands
, at the same time of the puppet lean forward. Then the strings
are to be pulled onto the handle and placed under the left hand
thumb and tied to the thumb. After setting that position the feet
strings can be moved or dance.
You need a lot of practice to be able to pick up the pearl beads
with both hands.
(2 ) Double String Handling
The strings that are connected to the arm string and palm string
are used to show the gestures , manner or the action of a puppet.
And when the hands are to pick up the pearl beads with a single
hand or both , this method is applied. And for the jerky dance also.
How to manipulate the Jerky Dance
Place those two strings on the right hand fingers
( arm string between the thumb and the index finger & palm string
between the middle finger and the index finger ) to the back of
the handle , on the left hand wrist. Strings are to be played on
the wrist. Let the puppet a little bit lean forward. Arm string
is to be tightened as usual. So that the hands ' position of the
puppet will be bent at the back of itself. Now , this position is
ready for the jerky dance. But we need the help of our left foot
to get a beautiful movement of the puppet.
So , with the help of the left foot , step the left side of the
puppet ;make the puppet learn to the left side, the face- looking
up the right side : and the same time, the palm string which is
hanging down on the right hand middle finger is to be tossed up
by the right finger. So that the right hand of the puppet will be
bent to the front and that is the jerky dance position.
It will be the same movement for the left hand also.Step the foot
to the right side of the puppet, make the puppet lean to the right
side, the face look up the left side, at the same time the palm
string which is hanging up on the middle finger , to be pull- tossed
by the force of the ring- finger to the right side , so that the
left hand of the puppet will be bent to the front. In this way ,
you can get the beautiful jerky dance by doing that technique left
and right alternately.
( 3 ) Triple String Handling
For the triple string handling , three strings
on the cross-bar must be pulled by the right hand thumb to the right
side and you will see three different strings clearly , arm string
, palm string , and the leg string. Among them arm string must be
chosen by the middle finger and twisted cross position then pick
the other strings up altogether and put them in of the puppet. Adjust
the strings to get the right position in the right hand. This is
ready to dance. The leg strings must be in of the shoulder of the
puppet as much as possible. The right side of the three strings
must be moved up by the force of three fingers , to start moving
the right hand and leg together. The face also look at the right
side. And get back to the normal position. It is the same way to
change the left hand and leg also. The face , look at the left side
; the left side of the three strings in the right hand are to be
lifted by the thumb to get the left hand's dancing position. And
then get back to the normal position.
All the movements are to be manipulated according to the timing
and tempo. So understanding timing is very important. As the tempo
and timing are understood well , you will be able to mainpulate
various kinds of dances.