Perez II Marionette

Perez II Marionette

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Description (Brief)
This marionette is Perez #2 from the Latin American folk tale "Perez and Martina: A Portotican Folktale" written by Pura Belpre and published in the United States in 1932. 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 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.
Perez #2 is made of hand carved wood, with hinged appendages and a moveable dressed for his wedding to Martina. His hands and face are painted a light gray, with black buttons for his eyes and nose, his ears are made of soft suede leather, and e has a moustache made of black feathers. He wears a fancy toreador suit with blue velvet pants and short jacket trimmed in the gold thread lace, and sports a bright pink cummerbund. This puppet is operated with a 5- wooden airplane control with ten 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
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
date made
Haines, Elizabeth L.
Haines, Frank D.
Haines, Elizabeth L.
Haines, Frank D.
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Physical Description
fiber, synthetic, rayon (overall material)
metallic thread (overall material)
feathers (overall material)
adhesive (overall material)
leather (overall material)
wood (overall material)
paint (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 23 1/2 in x 9 in x 4 in; 59.69 cm x 22.86 cm x 10.16 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Elizabeth and Frank D. Haines
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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