File puptcrit/puptcrit.0412, message 36


To: <puptcrit-driftline.org-AT-lists.driftline.org>
Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2004 09:07:42 -0500
Subject: [Puptcrit] Jewish Puppetry +


Michael,

Don't know anything at all about "traditional uses". If you want some good 
information you could ask Mark Levenson who might know. The plastic arts 
were a bit handicapped for a time by the injunction against making anything 
that represented a human or animal form. This was specifically tied to any 
form of idolatry, which did use some types of puppet mechanisms at times to 
make it appear that idols were talking and such. Yosl Cutler who died in the 
20's had a (Yiddish) puppet theatre called Modicut he was very very well 
known at the time and there is a video of some of his work, which to me at 
least is amazing.
I believe in Israel puppetry does thrive. I myself do "Jewish puppetry", but 
I also used to do Breakfast with Santa :).

My characters (of which one is a Rabbi) usually do generalized some what 
satiric pieces that "teach" or celebrate some of the holiday obligations.

I also read a lot of Yiddish stories cause some would, can or do make 
excellent puppet pieces.

My feeling is that shadow puppetry could be a superlative form of expression 
for these kind of pieces.

The Essenes were a countertradition which as far as I know did not get much 
credibility from Rabbinics which is what most people were and are affected 
by.

Re: What kind of puppets: I have been performing for 27 yrs. Use everything 
but marionettes, mainly because of restrictions of workshop/rehearsal space. 
And also because of the talent involved re effective manipulation :).

But like the subject of the what can puppetry be about, which is just about 
anything.....I believe that every form of puppetry is and should or could be 
utilizable to present whatever piece. If it works it is right.

It seems to me that some of the really fine shows out there are not 
handicapped by being exclusive to one form or the other. Crabgrass puppet 
theatre comes to mind because they are EXCELLENT at EVERYTHING!

Mark S.


>  Finally, I have not been able to find out much about the traditional use 
> of puppetry within Jewish cultural traditions. I am less interested in 
> contemporary work and more about past traditions and practices. Any info, 
> links, pointers will be greatly appreciated. Specifically I would like to 
> find out if any puppeteers have used puppetry to explore, illustrate and 
> tell Jewish Essene tales, teachings and concepts.
>
> And, if you have read this far, as long as I have your attention: I would 
> really like to read about people on this list who work pretty much 
> exclusively in one specific puppet form, say Rod Puppets, or Marionettes, 
> or Shadow Puppets, rather than a variety of forms. What I would like to 
> read about is what led you to working in the form you chose and why you 
> chose that form over others.
> Thanks
>
> MM, MKE WI
> "I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive." - Albert Einstein
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