Puppet theater

Puppet theater [ляльковий театр; lialkovyi teatr]. From the end of 16th until the mid-19th century puppet theaters in Ukraine existed almost exclusively in vertep form. After the establishment of Soviet rule oblast-level puppet theaters were registered in Kyiv (from 1929 as a separate Kyiv Puppet Theater, founded with the help of Oleksander Solomarsky); Vinnytsia (1937); Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, and Voroshylovhrad (1939); Simferopol, Zhytomyr, Stanyslaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk), and Odesa (1945); Lviv (1946); Donetsk (1958); Khmelnytskyi, Kirovohrad, Mykolaiv, and Cherkasy (1970); Zaporizhia and Kherson (1971); Sumy and Rivne (1975); Chernihiv and Lutsk (1976); Kryvyi Rih (1977); Ternopil (1980); and Chernivtsi and Uzhhorod (1981). Along with young spectator's theaters, puppet theaters are dedicated to performing for children, although they stage some productions for adults. Most puppet theaters use hand puppets operated by actors hidden behind a curtain, rather than marionettes operated by strings. Their repertoire includes Farbovanyi lys (The Painted Fox), based on Ivan Franko; Yu. Chepovetsky’s Mysheniatko Mytsyk (Mytsyk the Mouse), Dobryi Khorton (The Good Khorton), and Iakurchatko, tykurchatko (I’m a Chick, You’re a Chick, coauthored by H. Usach); Usach’s Kotyhoroshko (The Pea Roller) and Veselkova kazka (A Rainbow Tale); B. Yunger’s Bila troianda (A White Rose); Ye. Radaban’s Malenka feia (A Small Fairy); Anatolii Shyian’s Ivasyk-Telesyk; Bohdan Chaly’s Barvinok za synim morem (A Periwinkle beyond the Blue Sea); The Mermaid and The Steadfast Tin Soldier, based on Hans Christian Andersen; and Puss 'n Boots, based on C. Perrault. The repertoire for adults includes Joseph Shveik against Francis Joseph, an adaptation of Jaroslav Hašek’s novel, I. Shtok’s The Divine Comedy produced by the Kyiv Puppet Theater, and Semen Hulak-Artemovsky’s Zaporozhian Cossack beyond the Danube, produced by the Kharkiv Puppet Theater. Until the late 1980s the repertoire of puppet theaters also included plays which propagated the ideology of the Communist Party and the Komsomol. In 1979 a drama workshop for puppet theaters was opened under Yu. Chepovetsky.

Chepovets’kyi, Iu. ‘Malyi hliadach i lial'ka,’ Ukraïns’kyi teatr, 1973, no. 3
Motsar, T. ‘Shcho pokazuiut' lial'ky,’ Ukraïns’kyi teatr, 1986, no. 2

Valeriian Revutsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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