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Santo Aleixo puppets [Alentejo, Portugal]

These puppets – which most probably appeared in the mid 19h century in Santo Aleixo (Upper Alentejo), the village that gave them their name – "act in a small wooden pulpit that has a double network of strings, placed vertically between the puppets and the audience. The manipulators are hidden by chintz sheets. The lighting is made with oil lamps and there are painted carton scenarios. The dolls are rod puppets, manipulated from above, individually or in groups. Made of wood and cork, they are extremely simple, small sized, measuring between twenty to forty centimetres. The musical background is given by a Portuguese guitar.

The repertoire includes pieces of secular tradition, with a more specifically religious tone, along with texts belonging, in general, to popular literature." (excerpt from the website text of the Museu da Marioneta).

The CENDREV (Évora's Dramatic Arts Centre) is the responsible institution for the conservation and animation of the Santo Aleixo Puppets, through performances in national and international puppet festivals.

Watch this spetacular presentation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2DB_GsVTr4

An extensive article on the puppets can be found at Olinda Gil's blog, where the above poster image was retrieved from.