Shíshomkùs-Laí of Téshàn
Shíshomkùs-Laí is the largest festival of black silhouette theater in all of Elaqitan, established in 2,613 AEC. It always takes place annually in the last two weeks of summer according to the Téshànian calendar, alternating between Taíkhí Oúron and Khaí Lúpé. Patrons are the reigning Heavenly Imperial Couple Aílâ Tashkésýrá té Saívámshí and the Heavenly Masters Ínývá Tashkésýrá té Saívímtôs.
As early as the 9th century AEC there were storytellers everywhere on Elaqitan, who roamed the country and delighted young and old at fairs. Stories that were brought to life using silhouettes were particularly popular. In the centuries that followed, this form of storytelling developed into an art of its own on Téshàn and is still very popular today. Originally the narratives focused on fairy tales, but today there are different genres and categories to amaze the Sápáshì.
Since the art of silhouette theater is highly developed across Téshàn, the two countries of Taíkhí Oúron and Khaí Lúpé agreed to host the festival alternately in their respective capitals. In the meantime, theater groups from all over Elaqitan are coming. During this time, the capital cities are bursting at the seams, because many international guests do not want to miss the spectacle. Huge dome tents were erected in both cities for this purpose, offering space for over 4,000 guests. The events are fully booked months in advance and cost between 30 and 200 Rox.
The founder Eril Qùn was a famous silhouette artist from Lóvùsh. In the year 2,612 AEC he was able to inspire the then ruling couple so much with one of his plays that they commissioned him to organize a huge festival next year and to hire the ten largest theater groups for this.
The first event took place in the Rainbow Palace Park and lasted three days. Under the motto "Summer of Happiness" Eril Qùn invited the country's best ensembles. Each group had its own stage, which was set up side by side in a circle. The spectators sat in the middle. In the end, the piece "The Tree of Luck" was able to delight the guests the most and won a medal, which contained a moonstone with an inlaid black dragon made of obsidian in the middle. In Qánsáví, the Museum of Paper Cutting was established in 1,663 AEC, which tells a lot about the history of this special art and of the silhouette theatre.
The Shíshomkùs-Laí of today
Today the festival lasts two weeks and 24 groups perform. Two performances are held daily, presenting viewers with a wide variety of stories under an annual theme. After each event, viewers are allowed to vote for the performances. The voting slips are collected in boxes. On the penultimate day, all groups are invited to a grand gala dinner followed by an evening ball in the Qánsáví Rainbow Palace or the Kímýqán Cloud Temple. The following morning, the votes are evaluated and a five-person jury selects their favourites. In the grand closing event, prizes will be awarded in the categories stage design, effects, story, best silhouette artist and, of course, best piece. The first prizes were medals from Hêphýpás. To mark the 50th anniversary of the event, sculptures were made from this precious stone for the first time. Since the prizes are based on the designs of the best artist of the previous year and symbolize the respective motto, the sculptures are rarities and of course coveted collector's items at very high prices.
Posters from the years 2,690 & 2,694 as well as the current poster for 2,699 under the motto "Mystic".
Motto & Winners
... of the last ten years
MottoDivine - Fabulous - Adventurous
Sonorous - Heroic - Romantic
Virtues - Paradisiacal - Crazy
Best paper cutting artistsLirida Lóx - Elin Vaelish - Tâqíl Shán
Somin Maîs - Lessa Nyxus - Tildus Taê
Liridon Rix - Phyla Khâshou
Sháharì Nirém - Qousha Êlis
Best PlayThe Cunning Goddess - The Sacred Dragon
The adventurous journey of the Syrta Khîm
The musical animal crowd from Souzá
Liridon and the Ice Whale - Ilva & Atrox
The Virtues of Heaven
The Mystery of the Moon Garden
The Rainbow´s Dreams
Snowflakes in Summer