The puppet play "Isson Boshi" (analogue of "Little Thumb") on the motifs of a Japanese traditional tale is a production of the Senju Project theatrical company (Sofia, Bulgaria). The team works with artist Senju Takeda, the last successor to the Japanese Takeda puppet theater. He graduated in Puppet Scenography at the Bulgarian National Academy of Theater and Film Arts on the recommendation of his teacher, who believes that Bulgaria has one of the best puppet schools in Europe.
In front of the private Bulgarian theater companies there are many financial and organizational difficulties – providing a space for rehearsals and performances, forming theatrical crew, promotion and others. However, the young director Lyubomira Kostova and her desire for creativity and exchange with Japanese culture, overwhelm the despair from obstacles.

The footage traces the creation of some of the specific Takeda puppets, the sewing of their costumes and the rehearsal process from January 2021. The premiere is due.​​​​​​​

Krasimir Raikov is the sculptor who made some of the puppets for "Issun Boshi"

The standard height of the puppets in Takeda theater is about 70 cm. In the play "Issun Boshi", due to the specifics of the plot, there are atypically tall puppets – up to 150 cm.

The sculptor Krasimir Raikov creates puppets on projects by set designers Senju Takeda and Mila Dikalova

The director Lyubomira Kostova tried a suit, made of puppet master Zhivko Kanev. She went at his home in the town of Stara Zagora to pick up the puppet.

Maria Stoycheva sawing the puppets' costumes

Seeing the puppets for a very first time

The Japanese puppet theater differs from the European one in the construction of the guides and the overall striving for realism and contemplation of the puppetry itself. The threads are nearly two meters long, requiring exceptional precision when managing the puppets.

The main puppet character – samurai Issun Boshi. The doll was crafted by Senju Takeda and flew the whole way from Japan to Bulgaria.

Set designers Senju Takeda and Mila Dikalova are watching a rehearsal through an online connection from Japan and are consulting actors who rehearse in a tiny hall in Sofia

This type of Japanese theater is staged in Bulgaria for the first time in 2018 by the same theater company. The puppets in the photo are from the particular performance – "The Samurai's Daughter".

Without an Audience (2021)

"Isson Boshi" team (by Senju Project)
director: Lyubomira Kostova
scenography and Dolls: Senju Takeda and Mila Dikalova
actors: Dimitra Popova, Radost Kozhuharova, Niya Yanakieva, Georgi-Manoel Dimitrov, Pavel Gromkov
puppets contractors: Senju Takeda, Zhivko Kanev, Krasimir Raikov and Maria Stoycheva

Rosina Pencheva

Dobrin Kashavelov

Kostadin Kokalanov

Milena Dimitrova

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