Martina #2 , dressed in her wedding finery, is a character from a traditional Latin American folk tale "Perez and Martina: A Portotican Folktale" written by Pura Belpre and .published in the United States in 1932. "Perez and Martina: A Portotican Folktale" by Pura Belpre". Belpre was the first Puerto Rican librarian at the New York Public Library and a puppeteer. The story she wrote was told to her by her grandmother when growing up in Puerto Rico.
The traditional folk tale tells of a cockroach, named Martina, who finds a coin on a walkway and decides to buy with it a tin of face powder. She primps and then waits on her veranda above her garden for suitors to call. She settles on marrying a rat, Perez, who, unfortunately, becomes carried away by his own curiosity, falling, the next morning, into a vat of soup Martina is cooking. In some versions, he succumbs and in others, he is rescued.
In the puppet play produced by Elizabeth L. Haines with her husband, Frank D. Haines, Martina is a cricket and Perez is a mouse who competes for her favors with a rooster and a frog. Martina is looked after by an aging duenna beetle. She marries Perez, her face turning into that of a woman, and she lives "as happy as a cricket" with Perez ever after.
Martina #2 is made of hand carved wood painted brown with a moveable head and limbs. She has bright blue eyes and flirty black eyelashes and a black mantilla comb on her head. Dressed for her wedding. she wears a bright orange dresss with black lace ruffles and a black lace shawl. She is operated with a five piece wooden airplane control and 8 strings.
Throughout the 1940s the Haines performed this version of the play, ( with Martina a cricket and Perez a mouse), before school groups in the Philadelphia area. The marionettes and stage props were created by Frank and Elizabeth made the costumes and the backdrops.
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