The Kennedy Center

Papermoon Puppet Theatre


Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre has transformed puppets the way graphic novels changed comics: Taking a popular form too often dismissed as child’s play and making it intellectually challenging, emotionally chilling, and visually bold. Think Maus, not Muppets.

Drawing on the hip, youthful vibe of Indonesia’s preeminent college town and arts hotspot Yogyakarta, the company uses the whimsy and seeming innocence of beautiful, simple puppets to create multimedia performances that tackle political persecution and the personal side of history, in a way that promises to bring Indonesian history home and spark dialogue among audience and artists.

Exploring global traditions and popular imagery, Papermoon will tour the U.S. in August and September 2012, as part of Center StageSM ( An initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Center Stage brings compelling contemporary artists from Haiti, Indonesia, and Pakistan to the United States to engage the American people in cultural diplomacy as a way to create opportunities for greater understanding. Administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts, with funding from the Asian Cultural Council, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, this public-private partnership is the largest public diplomacy effort to bring foreign artists to American stages in recent history.

Papermoon will bring a unique view of contemporary Indonesian life—of personal dynamics, deep emotional moments, and hidden family secrets—to American audiences with their full-length work, “Mwathirika.” This chilling drama chronicles the impact of politically motivated mass violence on the inner world of families. Papermoon has created a historically based, universally moving account of a bloody period in Indonesia’s modern history, the persecutions, executions, and mass jailings that took place in 1965, often called the Year of Living Dangerously.
Papermoon Puppet Theatre