The black cat

From the production Yukiko

The black cat was one of the puppets in the production Yukiko. Yukiko was inspired by the Japanese fairytale Yukiko and the Little Black Cat. The script for the stage version was made by the ensemble in collaboration. It was directed by Mona Wiig and choreographed by Inger Buresund. Tatjana Zaitzow designed and made the puppets, and Morten Hansen was responsible for the stage design and costumes.

Yukiko was produced by Christiania Teater, an independent puppetry company, and the world premiere took place at The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Oslo April 8 1989.


(Objekt ID 95134)
Object type Puppet
Production date April 1988
Category Hand puppet
Themes Children, Fairytale puppet
Size 60 centimetres, of which the tail was half

Christiania Teater

Copyright Mona Gundersen


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In the production Yukiko, different techniques were used for the puppets. The main character, Yukiko, and the evil empress were made as simplified Bunraku puppets. The cat was a hand puppet, and two other were a mask and a shadow puppet respectively.

In the puppetry version, puppets, stage design, music and lighting told the story of Yukiko. The target group was children aged 3 to 7 years.

Yukiko was performed a total of 93 times. The production was invited to The International Puppet Festival in Dordrecht (Holland) in May 1989, and to a Nordic theatre festival in Umeå (Sweden) in September 1989. In November 1990 (16.-30.) Yukiko was performed aboard the culture boat Innvik, as arranged by The Norwegian Touring Theatre. The production was also performed in the counties of Rogaland and Aust-Agder, and in Eastern Norway. 

The role of the black cat was played by Anne Thomte

See the entries of the other puppets from the production in Sceneweb. These are Yukiko and the evil empress.


Anna Greta Ståhle (1976): Klassisk japansk teater, Bunraku (literally: Classic Japanese theatre, Bunraku). Forum, Berlinska Boktryckeriet.

Mona Wiig's private archive.

Donated by: Mona Wiig

Transported 11.11.2019.

Types of materiale

The head of the cat was formed from Styrofoam and fortified with cotton gauze and glue. Its face was painted in black and gold. The ears were made from stiff black leather. The body was made from three padded long pieces of fabric, sewn together by the throat and the tail. Along the sides of the fabric pieces, black boa fur was sewn on. The volume of this fur made the body look whole, not as if it was put together by loose pieces. The tail was made from black boa fur, and it could be removed and put back on.


The cat was a hand puppet, steered by the hand. It followed the movements of the puppeteer's hand, and it was light and flexible in performance. The cat could curl, move slowly or, if one wished to, be thrown into the air. The point to hold onto was inside the cat's throat, and the puppeteer's hand was hidden within the cat's body. The puppeteer played with black gloves on.

Affiliations (4)
Tatjana Zaitzow (person) – Designer, Puppet Maker
Morten Hansen (person) – Stage designer
Christiania Teater (organization) – Creator
Yukiko (production) – Hand puppet