On one of our outings, when we visited Narmanli Han, I heard an enchanting music coming from behind a line of people watching something. I could see the head of a very tall man with his face painted white but could not make anything of it until I got reasonably close to peek through the crowd. It was a puppeteer manipulating his alter ego with an accompanying story. In a way it was mesmerizing, the man was talking, narrating a story in a deep voice over the music seemingly coming from a device attached to his waist. His black attire, a backdrop for the marionette, made him look larger than he probably was. His arms moved in carefully choreographed sequences carrying the marionette in different directions or made him kneel at will. The totality of the experience was captivating, almost to a fault as I do not remember even one word the man said for fear of missing a move or missing a note of the music.
Then, there was a man in white, I mean from head to toe white. He stood there with an occasional smile on his face, with total incongruity with the crowd surrounding the puppeteer; his sole purpose seemed to be to provide a strong contrast to the puppeteer in black. Seeing the puppeteer, the man in white, and a young man who appeared to be the apprentice of the showman, was at times a surreal experience. Who were these men, why did the man in white stood there, why did the apprentice appear to be disinterested in what was going on yet in full costume like his master? I took some photographs, albeit only a dozen or so under rather low light conditions. We continued to visit Narmanli Han, where I took some photographs of the cats. Then on our way back, the puppeteer was now wearing an oversize mask, fitting to the occasion, rather grotesque. This time he and his alter ego coincided more.
I took a few more photographs but we had to move on. Still, I believe the few photographs I have in the collection convey the surrealistic experience quite strongly, at least to me. Here are the characters of this late afternoon show.