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Puppet of the month | October 2015: The Little Sleepy Star from Moscow

October, 31, 2015

The Little Sleepy Star was first produced on the marionette stage of the City Puppet Theatre in 1955. It had a long and successful run at home and abroad until misfortune struck. The puppets from the play were lost to a fire that broke out in the puppet workshop in 1972. In 2008, the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre commissioned copies of the puppets which continue to unfold the story of one of our most beloved puppet plays.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of The Little Sleepy Star. To this day, the story about a little star that is always late for work and is sent down to Earth as punishment by Uncle Moon is standard fare for Slovenian children. It was originally conceived as a radio play for children by Frane Milčinski – Ježek in 1952, thrilling the audience with its stage debut on 23 October 1955 and becoming the first Slovenian feature-length colour puppet film in 1965. It met with massive success, garnering much praise and distinguished accolades. It was performed at the international Festival in Bucharest, and afterwards took the Slovenian puppeteers on a stellar journey around the world.

In 1957, Ljubljana was visited by Sergey Obraztsov, a famous Russian puppeteer and the artistic director of the State Central Puppet Theatre in Moscow, who was excited to see the play. He was thrilled and said on the occasion: Our dear Comrades! We were delighted to have been able to see your outstanding play which radiates authentic creativity and zest. It would be wonderful to play host to you in Moscow! But before Obraztsov returned home, he received a special gift from the Ljubljana City Puppet Theatre. It was a replica of the Little Sleepy Star, crafted for him by puppet designer Mara Kralj who was the original creator of the puppets that had been destroyed. The replica managed to capture the charm of the original Little Sleepy Star.

Thus Little Sleepy Star found its place in the arena of the distinguished Sergey Obraztsov puppet museum, marking a milestone in Slovenian puppetry as the Russian museum is known to exhibit only the finest pieces of international puppetry.
To celebrate this enviable jubilee, we reached out to the Sergey Obraztsov puppet museum. The duplicate of the Little Sleepy Star arrived in its country of origin on its anniversary, on the very day itself. The puppet of the Little Sleepy Star was escorted by Gordij Saltykov, the museum manager, who handed it the over to the Museum of Puppetry which operates under the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre. Upon his visit, he emphasised how happy he was to have this wonderful opportunity of delighting the Slovenian audience with the real puppet of the Little Sleepy Star.

This new valuable museum piece will be on show at the permanent exhibition of the Museum of Puppetry at Ljubljana Castle until 24 January 2016.