Due to the pandemic, Schumann and Malíková could not attend the awards ceremony organized on the sidelines of the 20th edition of the Traditional and Ritual Theater Festival. Their award will be sent to them in their countries.
The award was established in 2011 to honor scholars of different nationalities for their efforts in the promotion of ritual and folk artistic performances.
Speaking at the ceremony, the president of the festival, Hamidreza Ardalan, said that Schumann is originally a German. Following the end of World War II, he along with a number of his compatriots left their homeland by ship to begin a new life in the United States.
On the ship, the migrants baked bread, which was their sole food to continue their journey. Due to the lack of adequate bread, each family had a special seal on each loaf of bread to avoid any confusion about their shares.
This subject remained in Schumann’s memory, which led him to co-found the Bread and Puppet Theater in 1963 in New York City, receiving the audience of his puppet shows with free freshly baked bread, generally served with a dipping sauce.
Ardalan also pointed to Schumann’s antiwar attitudes and elaborated on his giant puppets that first appeared in 1965 at political street parades in New York City and increasingly as part of the anti-Vietnam War movement. In addition, as an advocate of simple living, his troupe has been touring Europe over the past decade to promote the idea through their puppet shows.
The Bread and Puppet Theater visited Tehran in November 2004, performing their puppet show “The Violin Lecture” at the Farabi Hall of the Art University.
In his speech about Malíková, Ardalan gave a brief history about the establishment of UNIMA – Union Internationale de la Marionnette - International Puppetry Association.
He said that numerous children lost their families in World War I. Therefore, in a humanitarian movement, thespians attended orphanages and kindergartens to stage performances for the children. This movement was recognized by the United Nations and the UNIMA was established as a result.
“The seed of the current was beginning to emerge in Czech and journalist Nina Malíková who has studied theater philosophy is one of the few people still alive from that generation, which made contributions to the current,” he added.
“She was really popular and reputable, and has provided much support for the theater and written many articles and books in the field of dramatic arts,” he noted.
Malekpur is the writer of many books, including “Eternal Curse in Legends”, “Book Review: Dramatic Literature in Iran” and “Operetta Writing in Iran”.
The award has been named after the Iranian scholar and mythologist Jalal Sattari, an Iranian scholar and mythologist who was the author of over 90 books on mythology, dramatic literature and cultural criticism. He died on July 31, 2021.