ALKHOBAR: A musical show involving giant puppets has been hitting a high note among visitors to a popular Saudi festival. The models, standing 12 meters tall, have drawn big audiences to Alkhobar Corniche where performances have been taking place as part of Tanween Season.
Three huge puppets made up a family consisting of the father, donned in a white thobe and traditional Arabic head piece, the mother in a black abaya, and their son wearing a green Tanween T-shirt.
Children watching the show sang along to Saudi folk songs as puppeteers using special machinery brought the giant characters to life.
Tanween Season, in the Eastern Province, is a 17-day event that runs until Oct. 26, with talks, workshops, discussion panels, and performances built around this year’s theme of “play.” Activities are aimed at all ages and are designed to be family friendly.
“There’s a wide range of different experiences for visitors when they visit Ithra (the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture, in Dhahran) or the installations outside. Our goal is to deliver a message: How to use play in a different, creative way that introduces a myriad of ideas and culture,” the event’s head of performance, Anas Al-Ratoee, told Arab News.
The Tanween puppets are putting on theater performances for the first time, accompanied by a traditional Saudi band. Saudi, French, Belgian and Spanish talent have combined to stage the show at Alkhobar Corniche until Oct. 19.
“The Giant Puppets is a Spanish band, known as Carros de Foc, that usually performs traditionally in parades and festivals, where these 12-meter giants walk among people.
“We added the Saudi culture to it through traditional music performed by a local band. We wanted to depict a scene from a normal day in the life of a Saudi household; the dynamic between a father, mother and child,” added Al-Ratoee.
Muna Hassan, from Dammam, said her younger brother had thoroughly enjoyed the performance. “I was very happy to see him so excited and to see events like this catering to his age group.”