Art And Culture

Puppet Show Accentuates Deepening Water Crisis

A scene from “Kamancheh, Water and Others”A scene from “Kamancheh, Water and Others”

A musical puppet show by director Alireza Nassehi on the worsening water crisis will be performed at the 17th International Mobarak Puppet Festival in Tehran, August 23-29.

The play “Kamancheh, Water and Others” will be performed with the marotte puppet accompanied by famous musical scores, namely songs of American jazz artist Louis Armstrong, Azerbaijani musician Alim Qasimov, kamancheh player Keyhan Kalhor and vocalist Shahram Nazeri reciting a modern poem by Sohrab Sepehri “Don’t Muddy the Water,” ISNA reported.

The marotte is the most elementary form of rod puppet. Originally, the word referred to a jester’s stick: a wand topped with a head that was trimmed with ribbons and bells.  Today, marotte refers to a puppet controlled from below with a single central rod.  Sometimes the puppeteer controls a central rod with one of his or her hands, while the other hand becomes a hand of the puppet itself. When two puppeteers share animation of the marotte, they give it two “human” hands.

Kamancheh, Water and Others is the story of Mr. Foot, who wastes a lot of water while taking a shower and suddenly the water is cut off. So, he starts a journey to find water. The play aims to draw attention to the worsening water crisis and drought in the country via a fantasy story performed by marotte players and with memorable music.

Iran has been struggling with severe water shortage for decades. The systemic decline in precipitation, colossal waste by farmers, high consumption and waste in households plus rampant mismanagement of the precious resource has made a bad situation worse.

Average water consumption in the country of 80 million people is said to be over and above the global average. Over the years water has been rationed in some areas during the summer season.

A case in point is oil-rich Khuzestan Province where water is being supplied to households and farmers in tankers because of shortages and high salinity in the urban/rural supply network and the marshes.

One major related issue that has caused serious concern in the corridors of power is forced migration and environmental refugees.

An estimated 37 million Iranians are said to be living in water-stressed areas and average precipitation rate has been lower than the global average for more than a decade. Due to drought and the resulting economic and social crisis people in big numbers from the major water-deficit regions in the south are moving to other parts of the country including the northern provinces.

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