Sicily boasts an old tradition: that of Sicilian Pupi and Pupari.  ‘Pupi’ are puppets made of wood, with a real armor, which represent warriors.  In Sicily there are some theatres, only devoted to the representation of stories mainly based on medieval chivalric literature. This form of theatre is called ‘Opera dei Pupi’.

Pupi are moved by the so called ‘Pupari’ (Puppeteers), who make the representations seem  real. They move pupi, which are the only actors of the representations, through two iron rods connected to the hand and to the head of the puppets and other strips, while reciting or improvising a sort of plot outline. They tell the stories how it was once told, creating a suggestive atmosphere.  The puppeteers tell stories of knights, rebels, revenge, fights against an overbearing  power, social justice.

The cities where this form of theatre is most performed are: Palermo, Catania, but also Syracuse. 

In Catania, at the beginning of the century, there were lots of theatres which staged different stories.  Each “story” consisted of cycles that, episode after episode, could last even four months.

So anybody who loves these ancient and beautiful traditions can come to Sicily and attend the Opera dei Pupi.

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Francesco Firenze


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