Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Playing with the Definitions of Puppetry:

There is really no ‘normal puppetry’, ​

particularly when you consider its wide definition:  The animation of the inanimate object in front of an audience. However with EMP we’re proposing to stretch even further.
‘Usually’ the puppet is an object – found or created, that is animated by the puppeteer through strings, sticks or whatever. In EMP we have reversed this role of puppet and puppeteer. 
Our ‘puppets’ are static figureheads. During each scene a ‘life force’ is transferred from the figurehead to the actor – via the donning of a cloak, hat or neck ornament a physical representation of the puppet.  The actor then ‘becomes’ the puppet and performs what the puppet would do if it could.
On a practical level this means fine motor tasks that need to be done, have been simplified using human hands etc. 
On a philosophical level we explore ideas of symbols and icons, free will - people as puppets in their own destinies. 
On an actor level this presents some challenges that we work through. How does acting as an actor or a mime artist and acting as a puppet differ? How would our figureheads/puppets move if they could? These are great pithy questions for Wendy, our performer, and for our director when we  rehearse more deeply.

A good schematic of this way of working is captured by the Puppeteers of America logo (See above). For more info on this useful and inspiring organization please see here.

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