File puptcrit/puptcrit.0509, message 68

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Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2005 22:45:32 -0400
Subject: [Puptcrit] Dwiggins

   I am new to this conversation on puppetry and I'd like to add some thoughts.
W. A. Dwiggins and his friends may have created marionette productions that in some ways now seem to be dated.  But their work was of the highest quality.  I would venture to say that it was even better than that of many professionals working today.
   That is why people - including me - cherish that lavish book about them.  Everything about the Dwiggins theater, from the mural over the proscenium to the innovative backstage inventions to the marionettes themselves helped make it the kind of place many of us would be delighted to work in today.
   To cast a shadow over Dwiggins' talent by considering that marionettes of today - which are often bigger than his - would be too heavy if they were similarly carved out of wood is silly.  It's not the material they were made out of that people admire, it's the way they were carved.  And to worry about their weight in a suitcase and the possible extra fee it would cost to send them on a plane has nothing to do with art.
   We should all try to do our best and try not to pidgeonhole those who have worked before us.  Some people already find ways to criticize Bil Baird and diminish the value of his work.  One day, they'll pick on Jim Henson.  Let's consider their works for what they are and not for the circumstances around their creation.

Robert Rogers 
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