Thursday, April 9, 2009

We are the [Fill in the Blank] Puppeteers

It is time.
My Japanese folktale puppet group is getting more and more shows. I’ve been asked several times what my group is called. Heh.
Right now we are called: Aki Matsuri Volunteers in association with Puppeteers of Puget Sound, a guild of the Puppeteers of America. What a mouth full! When we got to the Aki Matsuri, the schedule read “Momotaro by Elly”
So I have been thinking for some time now about a name for our group. I don’t want to go with a name in Japanese because that might be to limiting but I wouldn’t mind a name that works in both languages. For the longest time I was thinking of “The Umbrella Town Puppeteers” which has a cute sound in Japanese “Kasa Machi Puppeteers” but when I ran it by a Japanese person, she told me it sounds like the Puppeteers are waiting for umbrellas rather than a name.
*Small Sigh*
I love the name “Seattle Puppetory Theater” so I called up Joan, one of the members of that theater to ask her how they came up with such a great name. We got to brainstorming names. She had lots of ideas. Some of which included names from Shakespeare like Rosamund, Rosaline or Puck Puppet theater. She said she saw a puppet company in Japan that had a name similar to Puck…it was Pouk or Pook Puppet Theater. That’s rather cute. Starting with a “P” is good for alliteration. Trips off the tongue…which is an element that Joan says a good name should have. If we are considering cute “P” words in Japanese, I like the sound of the famous candy “Pocky”…the y at the end makes that one, and I’m not sure Pooky or Pucky would do as well. Horse-Pucky happens, you know. With Pocky you must pronounce it with the oc forming the English A: Pah-key and not the Japanese way: Poh-key…that’s too slow a word: Pokey Puppets. Doop-de-do.
At the Aki Matsuri meeting, I put forth this question to them and the only suggestion I got was to name it after a famous deceased person. This is difficult to do with performers of any type because they have groups and foundation and estates. You just don’t tribute name a group of performers with the name of performers. If you think about that, it’s true.
Last night Wes and Frank weighed in. They thought I should go with something like “Small Spirit” in Japanese. I’m not sure exactly what that would be. Chibi Gami? The word for puppet in French is Marionette, which means “Little Mary” so small spirit would fit. But it sounds a bit like an anime.
*Deep Sigh*
Maybe Jean and Joan will let me join their theater and be an affiliate: Eastside Puppetory Theater.

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