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Paul Affeld’s animal puppet hiphop band, Puppetmastaz, is all set to take the city by storm with two ‘plays’, over two weekends

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PAUL AFFELD is the founder-developer of a hiphop band called Puppetmastaz. And, members of his band are animal glove puppets, who complete their cool, urban persona with caps, metal chains, and oversized, glittery sweatshirts. Mr Maloke, a mole rapper, is the frontman of this band, comprising hare, pig, lizard, and other creatures. They have done more than 500 concerts around Europe, USA, Canada, Brazil, Japan, China; and have cut five music albums. Their new release Keep Your Animal should be out soon, and work on a monthly web music show is on.
You’ll get to see these puppets in two shows, this week, and the next, albeit in a slightly different avatar. There won’t be much singing or rapping this time around, but acting is what is on the cards. That’s because Affeld wants to explore the possibilities of puppet theatre. “With theatre, I can go into details. I can light one part of the stage, dim the other, or place the puppets wherever I want. But with club gigs, there is no time for all this. You go on stage, do the sound check, start your show, and get off stage,” says Affeld, who is on his maiden trip to India, as a resident artiste at Jagriti.
Mixed box
Tonight, he will stage a ‘Fusion Puppet Show’ with Anupama Hoskere, of city-based, Dhaatu Puppet Theatre. “It’s the story of a man, named Mr Potato, who gets married to an Indian dancer. While I am using a potato-shaped puppet, Hoskere’s looks like an Indian girl. It’s a comical piece,” says the puppeteer-musician. Affeld shares he was looking for an opportunity to work with Indian puppets, “In India, puppets always seem to have a mythological connection. That’s not the case in Germany. I find that quite interesting. They are colourful, and fantastic.”
His second show in the city, titled Back from the Dark Side of the Moon, is scheduled for next Saturday at Jagriti Theatre. The story revolves around Clari, a man in search of the meaning of life, and hope. Affeld tells us, “Here, my puppets will work with four Indian actors. The play is about people who suffer from loss of identity. They get into that ‘non-functional zone’ in their mind, and find it difficult to fight back. My puppets (a dog, monkey, and bird) will lend a touch of fantasy to the play.”
Affeld wrote this screenplay in Germany last year, and says it’s his third theatre production since 2009. And how did he get drawn into the world of puppets, we ask. “My father was a sculptor. He taught me how to make puppets. So while Puppetmastaz has been around for 15 years, I have been figuring out, and designing puppets for two decades. I add two animal puppets to my band every year,” he concludes.

Fusion Puppet Show (May 13), at Numa Bengaluru. Entry free. Details: 65691530; Back from the Dark Side of the Moon (May 21), at Jagriti Theatre. Entry free. Details: 4124 2879

— Barkha Kumari

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