File puptcrit/puptcrit.0603, message 228

Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 09:55:03 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Puppets that use a body part as a 'host'

Hey Roger, Mathieu, et al,
   First of all, and I don't mean to be flip, what you described, Roger, 
is just about any puppet - part of the body to hold the puppet: that 
would include the hand, wouldn't it?: have the appearance of 
independent movement: that would just be good puppetry; manipulated in 
any way: that opens it up to all standard and hybrid types of puppet.
   We used puppets that incorporated the puppeteer (like Mathieu 
mentioned) quite often in the Circus (Ringling Bros.) and you can also 
look to Julie Taymor's work in Disney's "Lion King". Something more 
direct and somewhat simpler might be an animal version of a humanette. 
If you don't know what a humanette is, it is basically a miniature body 
without a head that attaches around the neck of the puppeteer. The 
puppeteer's head becomes the head of the puppet. Sometimes their hands 
become the hands of the puppets, or as the puppeteer you can work the 
hands and feet of the puppet. If you incorporated a bird mask for your 
head and a bird body (or other body if you want a fantasy creature) you 
could do the same thing.
   Back to the circus for a minute. Back in 1983, and again in 1988, I 
did a thing where it looked like I was riding an ostrich. In actuality 
I was on stilts that we made to look like the ostrich's legs, then 
there was a fake body for the bird with a fake lower body for me 
riding. I controlled the head which had reigns that hid the rods for 
the head. I don't think we did eye blinkers or mouth movement, but 
there is no reason you couldn't add those if you wanted, and maybe 
stings to the wings that could make it raise or flap its wings too. We 
also did a number of third arm gags - a fake arm (or two if needed) 
that covered the fact that your arm was hidden inside of what ever 
puppet was needed at the time. There was an article in the Puppetry 
Journal on this type of thing that I wrote and gives a bit more 
description and some photos. I believe it was around Summer of 1985 
that it came out.
  You could do a little research on Hugo and Ines who do puppetry that 
incorporates their body, but that may not be exactly what you are 
looking for.

  Just a few ideas for inspiration. Remember, this is puppetry so it 
doesn't have to be real in the sense of a real bird. You can create a 
bird or bird like creature from your imagination and incorporate as 
needed. Might be cool, if you want to do that much work, to do a mother 
bird and little(r) bird. You could wear a mask and wings and have 
strings from them to the head and wings of the smaller puppet. Rods 
would run from your feet to the puppet feet. You could do a sort of 
dance that was to teach the little bird the dance or to fly.  The 
puppet would mimic your movement. But now you are talking puppet, mask, 
and dance. That might be more than you want to attempt for this 
  Wait, why am I telling you this? I should do this myself! Ah, that's 
okay, I'm sure that even if we both did it, it wouldn't turn out the 


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