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Puppets

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Flights of Fantasy

ROD PUPPETS:Rod puppets have a central rod either long or short, attached to the head of the puppet. Their heads can either be fixed to a body or turn separately. The simplest form of rod puppet is a "marot" or "Fool's stick" which is a carnival head on a rod carried by a Jester. Rod puppets with arms, often have a rod attached to each hand . Rod puppets can have legs, or just a flowing skirt, similar to that of a marionette.

 

 

Flights of Fantasy

MOUTH PUPPETS: Mouth puppets have a sleeve like body and a head with a mouth that opens and closes. The puppeteer's arm goes inside the sleeve to operate the puppet mouth with her/his hand. Mouth puppets can also have legs attached.

 

 

 

 

Flights of Fantasy

GLOVE (hand) PUPPETS:Traditionally, glove puppets have a body in the shape of a glove. They have carved or cloth heads attached to a body made from fabric. The puppeteer's fingers move the puppet's head and arms; and wrist corresponds to the puppet's waist. They can have legs stitched to the front of the skirt. Glove puppets are often performed from inside a puppet booth.

 

 

 

Flights of Fantasy

SHADOW  PUPPETS:Are usually flat shapes cut out of heavy card, parchment or hide. They are held against a translucent screen with a light source shining onto them from behind. The puppets are controlled by rods or wires. Shadow puppets can be black or brightly coloured like the Indonesian Wayang Kulit.

 

Flights of Fantasy

MARIONETTE  (string):Can have a fully sculpted head and body, fully articulated with strings attached to each joint. Or they can be a simple head shape with a flowing skirt attached at the neck, operated with only one string looped from the back of the puppet to its front. Marionettes with more than one string often have them attached to wooden controls.

 

 

 

Flights of Fantasy

BUNRAKU STYLE PUPPETS: The Bunraku Theatre of Japan originates from the Edo Period and includes narration (joruri reciter), puppet, and shamisen accompanist. The puppets have moving eyes, mouths and eye-brows and are appoximately half to three-quarters human size. Puppets are operated by one, two or three puppeteers. It is only the puppet master who does not wear a hood or is dressed entirely in black. The junior puppeteer controls the feet while another controls the left arm. The master controls the right arm and head. The puppeteers are visible throughout the play. Click here for some website links.

 

FINGER PUPPETS: Can be made from any material and are operated by one or two fingers. Usually made from cloth or paper, they can have an entire body or be just a head shape.

Flights of Fantasy

BODY PUPPETS: Are puppets which can either attach to the puppeteers body or be worn like a suit. Body puppets which are worn like a suit and operated from the inside, may have more than one puppeteer.

 

 

 

 

PUPPET PLAYS:Should be mostly movement. Then comes sound effects and lastly dialogue. A play with all talk and no movement loses interest for an audience. Plays for puppets are not the same as plays for people. If a play can be done by people, we should never use puppets. Puppets are an instrument to add an extra dimension that people cannot.

When writing plays for puppets, imagine the puppet doing each movement, and keep in mind that different types of puppets move in different ways. Some movements are more difficult than others for the different types. Each play should have a beginning, a middle and an ending. There should also be conflict in each puppet play. Play with your puppet first and discover its many movements and include those in your story.

STAGING AND PERFORMANCE:
You don't need an elaborate booth in which to perform. A cloth thrown across a table creates a space for "table-top" performing with puppeteer sitting behind on a chair and visible from waist up. Ideal for young children. A clothes horse is another ideal puppet screen. Cardboard box table top theatre is cheap and easy to construct. See "Let's Play Puppets" for more information.

Glove and Rod puppets are shown to better effect if they have a dark back drop. You can also walk about and get your puppet to mingle with the audience. No staging required for that!

 


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