This collaborative website is devoted to epics from across the globe, including epic narratives in theatrical dramatizations, puppetry arts, music, visual art, and film. It aims likewise to showcase websites and teaching resources developed by colleagues featuring both oral and literary epics, from the ancient world to today.
World Epics in Puppet Theater
India, Iran, Japan, Italy
This project is part of the Columbia University Humanities War & Peace Initiative, which “fosters the study of war and peace from the perspective of scholars in the Humanities, in conversation with colleagues from around Columbia and the world […] with an ultimate goal of perpetuating a more peaceful world.”
A mini-symposium dedicated to World Epics in Puppet Theater: India, Iran, Japan, Italy was held online through the Museo Internazionale delle Marionette “Antonio Pasqualino” (Palermo) on Friday, November 12, 2021. The theme of this mini-symposium was exile. Click here for a program with descriptions of the five presentations, a video recording of the event, and brief biographies of the speakers.
Live and streamed performance
A performance of Rinaldo imperatore di Trebisonda by the Marionettistica dei Fratelli Napoli of Catania was hosted by the Museo Internazionale delle Marionette “Antonio Pasqualino” in Palermo, Italy, on November 12, 2021. The performance was staged following the World Epics in Puppet Theater mini-symposium on the theme of exile in which Alessandro Napoli gave a presentation on the “Rinaldo, Emperor of Trebizond” episode in literary and puppet theater traditions (both the presentation and the performance are available online).
Online Screening and Q&A
Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic. A cinematic shadow play that features the white-haired Zal from his birth to his love story with Rudabeh, based on the Persian epic Shahnameh (‘The Book of Kings’). Created and directed by Hamid Rahmanian with graphics derived from the visual tradition of the region, rendered as puppets, costumes, masks, scenography, and digital animation. Online screening followed by a Q&A with Hamid Rahmanian, in conversation with Olga M. Davidson (Boston University) and John Bell (Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, University of Connecticut), May 11, 2022.
Online Screening and Q&A
Online Screening and Q&A
About Ram. An experimental theatrical piece and collaborative performance, using excerpts from the Bhavbhuti Ramayana and told through animation, projected images, dance, masks, and puppets. Directed by Anurupa Roy. Animation by Vishal Dhar. Performed by the Katkatha Puppet Theatre Group. Online screening followed by a Q&A with Anurupa Roy, in conversation with Paula Richman (Oberlin College) and John Bell (Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, University of Connecticut), May 25, 2022.
The website National Epics is being developed in parallel with an in-progress collaborative project of over 80 chapters edited by David Wallace and to be published by Oxford University Press.
Charlemagne: A European Icon
This project examines the ways in which the different linguistic cultures of medieval Europe appropriated Charlemagne material from chronicle and epic. There will be seven volumes, along with additional features on the website.
Adaptations, News & Events, Publications
by ROBERT WEINBERG September 11, 2023 Excerpt: But there are always more stories to tell from Shahnameh and more ways to tell them. The initial challenge made by Melissa has now reached hundreds of thousands of appreciative people through other media and platforms....
US Premiere March 5-12, 2022 Harvey Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music From the Song of the North website: Created, Designed and Directed by Hamid Rahmanian Producer: Melissa Hibbard Script written by Hamid Rahmanian and Melissa Hibbard Original Score written...
French Branch conference at Lyon, France, call for papers: Guerres d’émotion : la chanson de geste et les affects Colloque international organisé par le CIHAM (UMR 5648) sous l’égide de la Société Rencesvals pour l’étude des épopées romanes, Section française 14-15...
“Hacer dragones y serpientes para este teatro”: los libros de caballerías y la comedia del siglo XVII
This conference (in Spanish) on books of chivalry and comedies of the 17th century is part of the Historias Fingidas International Seminar (2022). It will take place November 10-11, 2022, at the University of Verona, Italy, and can be followed online. The program and...
By Jo Ann Cavallo. Anthem World Epic and Romance Series. Anthem Press, 2023. This study reconstructs the history of the Manteo family marionette theater in New York City, provides translations of eight selected plays and 270 extant summaries, and offers comparative...
By Brenda E. F. Beck. University of Toronto Press 2023. In Hidden Paradigms, anthropologist Brenda E.F. Beck describes The Legend of Ponnivala, an oral epic from rural South India. Recorded in 1965, this story was sung to a group of village enthusiasts by a respected...