Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thoughts on Wednesday Performances


Part of our homework for the workshop I'm in was to watch the performances that day for specific things:
A. Eye focus of the puppets...where are they looking and where are they leading you to look?
B. Take note of any Outstanding movement

So let's go down the list...

The first show I saw today was "The Secret Life of Bugs"...and I must say I was pretty impressed by the movement of the bugs. Also, the bugs had eyes that don't normally lend themselves well to a focus we humans can recognize. There was focus, however, in the human sense. I don't think it detracted. Over all, the show had two major flaws and they weren't movement. First flaw: gentle and soothing music. Second, slow moving bugs (although very realistic) . The combination of these two flaws coupled with it being the afternoon meant I was seriously falling asleep.

The second show was "Hats off to the Sea" which was delightful. Focus was there, but it was difficult for it not to be because the size of the puppets and the smallness of the puppet's eyes meant that it looked good as long as the face was pointed in the right direction. We did only get to see the first half of the show due to bad weather. Bummer. Outstanding movement came from the full body boat that was attached and walked about by the puppeteer. It was a believable thing that it was afloat in water.

Now, "The Mother of All Enemies" was done in Shadow puppet style. Thus eye focus was not something that the puppeteer can control. I think it can be done if a puppet is cut differently or designed with moving eyes, but I've only seen that type of puppets in books. As for movement, well I find shadow puppets to be the style that least allows me to enter into the belief that these moving things are alive. It had nifty bits of business, don't get me wrong, but nothing I would consider "Outstanding Movement". This show was definitely a case of the words of the puppeteer being much more important than the motion of the puppets.

The puppet slam was hosted by two humanettes. A puppet style that has great potential for believable movement. The puppeteer uses his or her own head, so really, all that needs to be worried about is the action of the body dangling under your chin. These two puppeteers, however, did not seem to worry about that and often let their puppets dangle, or position their legs in odd crushed positions. However, good movement in such a setting would be odd. Humor reigns at a puppet slam.

So, did I do my homework right?

Polichinelle supplied me with new bits of business I liked. Some were movement, most were scripted. Here's a morsel for you:
P: Did you see that my friends? That alligator nearly bit off my hump! If he takes that, I'll only have two phallic symbols left!

No comments: