File puptcrit/puptcrit.0510, message 101

Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2005 13:16:13 EDT
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Puppeteer slang

Here is a quick list off the top of my head. The linguistics of Puppetry  are 
fascinating to me. Many of our terms are so common to us, we take them for  
Control or controller - the part of the puppet in physical contact with the  
puppeteer used to operate the movements of the puppet. (I am often asked what  
that part of a marionette is called.)
Airplane Control - a style of marionette control in a cross  configuration, 
parallel to the ground, with strings attaching to the puppet's  head, body and 
Vertical Control - a style of marionette control that has a  control in a 
cross configuration held vertically with strings attaching to the  puppet's head, 
body and limbs.
Leg bar - a stick part of a marionette control that is specifically  attached 
to strings running to the legs to control walking. It is sometimes  
detachable from the main control or may be attached by a pivot allowing a rocker  
Tandem - several puppets or characters operated under a single control,  
allowing exact synchronization of movements.
Lip sync - synchronous or simultaneous movement of a puppet's mouth with  
audible speech, to create the illusion of the object speaking.
Backwards lip sync - also mentioned as "fly catching" in another post  where 
the hand closes on each syllable instead of opening in  synchronization to 
audible speech.
Practical hands - also mentioned as "live hands" in another post, where the  
puppeteers' hands are seen as the puppets hands, facilitating gesturing and  
handling of props.
Hand and rod - a type of puppet typically operated with one hand operating  
the mouth and rods controlling the arms, e.g. Kermit the Frog.
Mech - a mechanism that aids in controlling movements.
Moving mouth - a  mouth  of a puppet that is engineered to  move, sometimes 
has a mech.
Moving eyes - the eyes of a puppet that are engineered to move, sometimes  
has a mech.
Mouth string - the special string on a marionette that controls a moving  
Special string - a string added to the usual configuration for a  marionette, 
allowing some special trick or movement.
Substitution or sub - the replacement of one puppet or prop with  another, 
similar in appearance, but designed to function differently without  intending 
the audience to notice the switch.
Bunraku - discussed at length in previous posts, but in common usage being  
used to describe the eastern style of operation, with the puppeteers in full  
view of the audience.
Full view - where the puppeteers are not intended to be hidden from view by  
the audience. This has been a trend over the last 50 years, away from more  
traditional European style puppet shows where no humans were visible to the  
Table top - also used to describe a Bunraku style of operation, where the  
puppeteers present a show on a table while in "full view" of the audience with  
the puppets. Presently much in vogue.
I'd like to second the vote for "blacks" as how we refer to what we  
frequently wear for performing.
In a message dated 10/9/2005 8:16:29 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, writes:

I'm writing a book called _Talk the Talk: Authentic Slang from  75 American
Subcultures_, due out from Writer's Digest books in Fall 2006.  Mary
Robinette has gotten me started with some great puppetry terms  (like
"shaking the dolly" and "focus"), and if anyone can suggest any other  terms
or resources that might help me learn terms, I'd be  grateful.

Luc  Reid


So, here are the terms I've  given Luc thus far. Some of them might be
regional or disputed. Chime in  and I'll compile a list or email Luc
directly. Thanks for  helping!

Mary Robinette Kowal

meat puppet - deragatory term for  human actors

shaking the dolly or wiggling the dolly - bad puppetry,  sometimes also used
for gigs one doesn't want to have to do. ie "Gotta go  shake the dolly."

flapping - bad lipsync

head bobbing - shaking  the whole puppet's head with each word

Henson stitch - a baseball  stitch used for sewing an invisible seam (Not
copyrighted, but I can get  permission from a family member if it makes you

Then there  are things which are specialized terms, but not slang per se.
focus - where  the puppet's eyes seem to look. "That puppet has high focus."
muscle -  creating the illusion that a puppet moves under it's own power
magic  triangle - an imaginary triangle created by the eyes and nose of the
puppet  which defines the puppet's focus
live hands - a puppet which uses human  hands, gloved or not, instead of fake
playboard - a puppet  stage

Mary Robinette Kowal

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