File puptcrit/puptcrit.0602, message 333

To: <>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 16:53:37 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Inflating and deflating puppet's stomach on stage -

I've done it once, with a bit of success.
I used the kind of sleeve used by doctors to measure blood pressure.
I went to a medical supplier for this. I just bought the main "inner pouch" 
the tube, the hand pump, and a valve.
Affordable, surprisingly. The puppet's torso was barely existing, with only 
part of the upper torso, the full back, and some hips.  The rest was filled 
with the pouch, filled with air, but not too tight.
To inflate him more, the puppeteer had to pump frenetically. The gag was 
funny, but the effect was much more limited than I first thought. Some 
people, less observant, did not notice the stomach had inflated, until it 
was deflated again.
I made some tests, and confirmed that 26 pumps of the hand  was the safety 
limit so as not to make the strong paper mache torso explode.

If I were to do it all over again, I'd build the body in stretch fabric, 
only partially stuffed. The stuffing would be constrained in smaller pouches 
inserted in the body, so as not to move around at all.
The inflation would push all these pouches away, therefore truly fattening 
the character. The arms would even lift on their own!

Good luck.

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

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