File puptcrit/puptcrit.0509, message 389

Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2005 12:59:02 EDT
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] QUITTING PUPPETRY!

Hi Steve:
Thanks for asking....

I'd like to respond to your interesting questions. Be warned.... I am 
definitely one of those posters who likes to "...'see' myself talk." [sic.]

Have you ever been close to quitting puppetry?
I have never thought of quitting puppetry. I have had to put it aside from 
time to time, because of other needs/career choices. Earlier in my 'career' in 
puppetry, it was my main means of earning a living. Since, I have gone other 
routes, but have never abandoned puppetry and it, as an Art form, has never 
abandoned me.

What keeps you going?
Simply put: I love theater. The magic of theater. Puppetry is a form of 
theater magic. I love puppetry. In all its forms. While I particularly like to work 
with and see marionettes, all kinds of puppetry, if performed well, appeal. 
Its been with me for years and the one constant joy of my life. 
It hasn't 'always' been joyful. Those horrible deadlines; the on and offstage 
disasters; sometimes nasty people you have to deal with...and, sadly, 
witnessing some very bad puppetry out there. 
This last, of course, is very subjective, but it's the most discouraging 
factor for me. Sounds pompous, I know, but when you have seen the very best the 
world has to offer - when you have had the hair on the back of your neck stand 
up because of a brilliant puppetry performance - when you have seen an audience 
as one, caught up in a moment of pure puppet magic - you understand. I do 
believe in the POWER of the puppet. So, at times, I despair at some of what's 
being foisted on the public as 'good' puppetry....or even puppetry.....
I like being around other puppeteers when I can.

Why did you start in the first place?
I have   just had to write a brief bio for a lecture demo I'm doing at a 
university here. In it I mentioned that I: "...began back in the mid forties (last 
century) after I witnessed a performance by Rufus and Margo Rose, then 
America's foremost artists of the marionette theater. I was hooked!   
Whatever the inexplicable fascination was at that time, this interest and 
pursuit has lasted much of my lifetime. Some 55 years later, and with no better 
understanding of why I am still in its thrall, I now spend much of my time 
sharing the experiences from studying and working with some of the finest 
puppeteers, designers, craftsmen and artists in the world."

I don't know what it is specifically about puppetry that fascinates me. 
Perhaps the opportunity to work in a number of media. The challenges of solving 
construction, control or stringing problems. The excitement of sharing in 
performance or in a workshop the possibilities and potential of puppetry. 

What are your biggest challenges?   
Self confidence. 
Discovering new and interesting ways to present old material......
Keeping an open mind.

What are your biggest motivators?
Puppeteers of the past and present. Innovative ideas. Exciting theater, opera 
and ballet concepts. Music.
The ego and Art driven goal to try to present something different and, 
hopefully, better....
The opportunity to teach and share.
Learning from others. 

Fred Thompson
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