File puptcrit/puptcrit.0510, message 136

Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2005 18:52:23 EDT
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Puppeteer slang

As a subset of puppeteer slang, one might include the argot of Punch and Judy 
professors. Sometimes of itinerant Italian and/or Rom Gypsy stock, the slang 
used by the "motion men" or "manipulators" was often literally from a foreign 
language.   It was once upon a time known as "Bona Palare."

Here are SOME of the old terms.

Booth/castello/frame/fit-up:   the Punch & Judy street booth is a portable 
theatre in which one or two people can perform.
Bottle: the amount of money collected by passing a hat at a street show, 
sometimes, perhaps, in a bottle, but usually in a bag.
Bottler: the puppeteer's assistant who collects the money; comedian Bud Abbot 
used to assist Punchman Al Flosso in this way at Coney Island, New York.
Business/bits/lazzi: routines in the puppet show, usually standard routines, 
or basic scenarios upon which the puppeteer could work a personal elaboration.
Dolls/figures/slumareys: puppets (slumareys may also mean general props).
Finchia/swazzle gelt: money.
Hedge: the audience.
Joey:   the famous clown Joey Grimaldi became a popular character in Punch & 
Judy shows after years of perfroming in panto plays; the puppet is an homage 
to Grimaldi, and in fact it is common to call any clown that appears in the 
show a "joey".
Patter/talk: interaction with audience before the show; sometimes the 
dialogue of the show.
Pipares: Pan pipes played to attract an audience by the "pipes and tabor" man 
in former times.
Pivetta/sgherlo/sifflet pratique/slum/the squeaker/the swatchel/the 
swazzle/reed/call:   the many names given the small instrument the Punch performer 
hides in his mouth to produce Mr Punch's shrill voice; variations of this 
instrument, a very closely guarded instrument, have aided in the production of 
unearthly puppet voices for hundreds if not thousands of years.
Pitch: the site where a booth is set, usually on a regular basis, for 
Roundings/windings: the drapery, sometimes canvas, sometimes bed ticking, 
pulled around the sides and front of the booth, leaving a space for the playboard 
and window.
Shant a bivare: glass of beer, in which the swazzle, and the puppeteer, was 
often soaked to prepare for performance.
Sleeve: the puppet's body, formerly inside an overlaid costume; now it 
frequently IS the single-ply costume.
Tabora: a drum.
Tilt: the tilt is the cap, sometimes slanted for sound projection, which 
serves as the cover for the top third or half of the booth.
Ultray cateva slum: a lacklustre performance on the swazzle, to say the 

And, oddly enough, the term "slanging" meant "performing."

Sean K.
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