File puptcrit/puptcrit.0601, message 86

To: <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 14:53:07 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] puppetry peers

Oops, I should have been more precise about my interpretation of Jim's rule 

My brain needs waking up...I think of ideas in sentences and I write only 
half of them.
REad at your own peril, I'm probably not truly making sense right now.

I should have said that I saw it as an observation of the solo "puppeteers" 
I see perform for children in schools and  events around here(province of 
Quebec). I mention solo puppeters as problematic, but what puppet troups I 
saw in those circumstances all were pro level and were giving the best 
quality possible.
AS was mentionned earlier in this thread, full puppet troup shows are harder 
to book in schools because schools have little budget (and some think they 
don't have enough).
But those troups who do perform for schools, be it at the school or at their 
own venue, seem to have more to offer in quality. Maybe it is because of a 
pooling of resources and motivation.

Most of what I've seen in solo puppet work (in and for schools) was 
oversimplistic and did not work.
But the magic of a puppet is so that even bad, unrefined work can sometime 
seem interesting enough and unusual enough so that people still appreciate 
it, and keep booking such shows.
I've got nothing against amateur shows, they have to start somewhere, and I 
believe there is a place for many levels of refinements. But I still get mad 
when I see bad quality being encouraged over and over.

To be more precise about what I mean as bad puppetry:
-First and foremost, when the puppeteer uses the puppet as a fun prop to get 
attention, not really giving it life.
-When the puppeteer grabs all the attention (it should be better balanced if 
he has to share the stage with the puppet)

-When the puppet moves in erratic motions and obviously is badly built.
-When the puppet looks frighteningly ugly, clumsy and badly done.

I find it very irritating to see badly done and badly manipulated puppets 
being passed as "what is puppetry", especially in schools or family-oriented 
events. Does it not give a bad rep to our craft?
I wish some people had more modesty, and the really diserving ones were 
given more self-confidence.

I'm pretty sure there are amazing solo puppeteers representing our Art to 
the school and family public.
I'm just startled and disapointed I have not seen or heard of any giving a 
show in the recent years.
Puppetry needs more visibility!

This is a similar problem to paper mache being considered as a little more 
than an ephemeral construction that will self-destroy, because of the poor 
instructions given about it in schools for generations. In fact, the medium, 
when properly done, is one, if not the best category of 3D art medium out 

Puppetry migth have and might still be suffering from low-quality 
representation in school systems and events.
Of course, the lower quality shows get booked easily because usually they 
might charge less.

I'm torn between the importance of puppetry being in the public eye, and the 
fear that bad puppetry can damage our image.

So let me ask this question:
Can a bad puppetry show be better than no puppetry show at all?

Mathieu René Créaturiste
Marionnettes, Masques, Etcetera...
Puppets, Masks, Etcetera...
(514) 274-8027 

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