Friday, January 14, 2011

The Great Puppet Debate!

Recently I have been in a lot of conversations, with teachers that say “puppets are out of style, and there is no use for them in today’s classroom.” Of course, me being a long time puppeteer, I have to disagree. So this leads us to The Great Puppet Debate of 2011.

In today’s world of exploding technology, you might be tempted to get rid of any teaching method that doesn’t plug in. But wait, before you do, hear me out!

Did you know approximately 8 million people tune into Sesame Street every week?

Did you know Sesame Street is the number one program recalled by mothers of children ages 6 months to 11 years who were asked to name any children's program? 

Did you know Sesame Street was created in 1966? That’s over 40 years of puppetry entertainment, and they are still growing strong! 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tips For Live Puppetry

A Guest Editorial by Amanda Cowles

The use of live puppetry means your skits are not pre-recorded.  You have the option of responding to the audience and others on stage, and also have the flexibility to adjust length and content as needed.

Here are few tips I use to improve my live puppetry:

Memorize the script.  In my opinion, one of the worst things you can do as a puppeteer is read the script during a performance.  The first step in bringing your puppet to life is to have the skit thoroughly memorized.

If you do not feel confident that you will remember a routine, opt instead for a bullet list of important lines.  A bullet list helps you move from one point to the next and reminds you of fun lines you do not want to forget.  I use a bullet list for the first 3 or 4 performances of a new routine.  Keep the routine handy so you can refresh your memory before a show.  Remember, though, the quicker you lose the script while performing, the better.

My bullet lists look something like this:

“Cake Routine”
· Up crying
· Birthday cake.  Read ingredients.
· Kaboom!
· Use my ‘magination
· Stinkilicious!
· “Put the good stuff in, keep the bad stuff out!”
· Peanut Butter

Human Arm Puppetry - What is it?

Human arm puppets can add more realism to a puppet show by allowing the puppet to actually hold and handle props.  Imagine what appeal the Cookie Monster© would lose if he were not able to pick up a cookie.  Imagine what appeal the Frankenstein Monster would lose if he were not able to pick up a Frankenstein.  With working opposable thumbs, a puppet enters another dimension of realism.  With a little effort, a human arm puppet can even turn the pages of a book from which she seems to be reading or perform live illusions or object lessons.