Also found in: Wikipedia.
the main character of folk puppet shows in Russia. Petrushka, an overhead puppet, was indispensable in the shows of the skomorokhi (wandering folk actors). He was first described by Ö. Olearius in the 17th century. Shows of Petrushka appeared in 18th-century lubki (illustrated broadsides). Puppet presentations with Petrushka became increasingly popular at fairs, markets, and yards of residential buildings. The puppeteer spoke for Petrushka, using a pishchik (pipe for luring birds), which gave the voice a metallic shrill that could be heard far away. Petrushka has a large hooked nose, smiling mouth, and, often, a humped back. He is dressed in a red shirt and tasseled cap (or in fool’s attire). N. A. Nekrasov and M. Gorky wrote on the ideological and political significance of Petrushka shows.
During the first years of the Soviet puppet theater, Petrushka was the principal character in new plays, having undergone important changes in character and dress. Performances with Petrushka are now extremely rare. However, numerous types of puppets each having the general name of Petrushka are widely used in the Soviet puppet theater.
REFERENCESSimonovich-Efimova, N. Ia. Zapiski Petrushechnika. Moscow-Leningrad, 1925.
Smirnova, N. I. Sovetskii teatr kukol 1918-1932. Moscow, 1963.