Monster Workshop

We are Maya (15) and Ela (13), and though we no longer attend Vidya Aranya, we remain connected to the school. Since the middle of December, we have been working on two monster puppets for the school play, Beowulf, which will be performed on the 17th of February. The puppets are Grendel and Grendel’s mother. On Tuesdays, we have been meeting with Ian (who’s also Maya’s father) in our work space, which is a beautiful, shady, open-air shala that was once part of the school site. We began the monster-making process with a bamboo and flexible-hose frame bound together with wire and tape. We then covered the frame with cling-film and papier-mache. The puppets have just been painted, and given clothing and hair. We also covered the eyes with colored tissue paper so that a torch can be used to make the eyes glow. Most important: we, Maya and Ela, are the puppeteers! The monsters will be attached to our backs in such a way that our heads will be inside the monsters’ stomachs. In addition, there will be poles attached to the arms for us to hold, enabling us to do battle with mighty Beowulf. Our legs will be the monsters’ legs, and once strapped to our backs, the monsters will stand 8 – 9 ft (2.5 m) tall.