PETA's Ismail at Isabel showcases shadow animation


The Philippine Educational Theater Association uses silhouette animation to tell the story of a Muslim and Christian child in the play Ismail at Isabel. It will be staged at the PETA Theater Center, Quezon City until October 4, 2009.


A Thai shadow theater expert named Monthatip Suksopha was recently tapped to train the cast of PETA's Ismail at Isabel. He taught the production members of Philippine Educational Theater Association to perfect a series of beautifully styled scenes of silhouette animation—carefully cutting, meticulously designing over 50 intricate pieces of hand-made puppets while using the art of using free-hand lighting to illuminate the shadows.

The outcome?

A colorful and breathtaking showcase of lights and shadows that unfold wondrous stories of various Philippine folklore.

Monthatip Suksopha (better known as "Tip") founded the Wandering Moon and Endless Journey Group back 1998 at a small town in Northern Thailand. The group started collaborating with PETA for its Asian Women's Festival back in 2003, wherein it performed The Butterfly, a shadow theater play on women, gender and reproductive health.

As a non-profit and independent shadow theater proponent in Thailand, the group has given various workshops on shadow puppetry and has initiated the use of the medium for advocacy plays and performances.

Their style, while very contemporary and experimental in approach incorporates different styles and ancient forms of creating the illusion of moving images. Although Thai puppets are normally made of cowhide and rattan, the group eventually tapped organic materials and the human body in creating shadows and forms.

Their performances are also normally accompanied by a combination of songs and chants, but for this production in particular, their shadows lend an enchanting backdrop to the rather eclectic play.

Monthatip points out: "Every puppet has a different shadow very much like its creators. In shadow theater workshops, the ugliest puppet unbelievably turns to be beautiful in the world of shadow. The shyest child becomes the most full-hearted and energetic puppeteer. In many journeys, light and shadow enchant the audience. This is what special in telling stories with shadow theater."


Ismail at Isabel is being staged at the PETA Theater Center until October 4, 2009, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (10 am and 3 pm). Tickets are priced at P300 each.


Address: PETA Theater Center, No. 5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City

For inquiries or ticket reservations, contact 410-0821, 725-6244, 0917-8044428 or petampro@yahoo.com

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