Student Research Projects

Indonesian Inspired Puppet Show of “Oedipus Rex”

Student Collette Vauthier '17 (Latin)
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Theatre
Course Theater 301: Theater History I


Designing puppets for Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex” through a style of intricate Indonesian shadow-puppetry infuses together two cultures that would have never combined in antiquity. The two-dimensional nature of Indonesian Wayang Kulit puppets, along with two-dimensional facial profiles on Greek pottery, depicts two distinct cultures, the images of themselves, their deities, and their consideration to detail. Black-figure and red-figure pottery styles are the Greek influence on the puppeteer’s design of facial elements, such as the chin, nose, eyes, hairstyle, clothing elements, and overall character illustration. Color is used because of its significance to the story, set, and dalang (puppet master) in Wayang Kulit. The puppets’ profiles are primarily based on classical pottery; the attention to details are an infusion of both cultures; and the body styles and method of production are Indonesian inspired.