File puptcrit/puptcrit.0606, message 417

Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 16:00:29 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] X(=Neo?)-puppetry

I'm now very neo-confused.
Is this neo?


On Jun 22, 2006, at 11:26 AM, wrote:

> Before I become confused by how I categorize my forms of Puppetry, my 
> way  of
> understanding object puppets implies the use of ordinary objects 
> manipulated
> as entertainment. Any performance employing the use of kitchen spoons 
> or
> other  silverware, as in all the examples below, would to me, by 
> definition be
> object puppetry.
> A spoon is a household object, and employing it as a puppet creates a 
> very
> different significance than the fabrication of a puppet that 
> represents a
> spoon,  which I would think of as a more traditional form of Puppetry. 
> "Lion  King"
> masks and puppets are clearly not found object puppets, but were 
> created
> specifically for that production. Are they "neo"? Someone will have to 
> define
> that for me.
>      -Steven->
> In a message dated 6/22/2006 10:59:24 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
> writes:
> Dear  Stephen,
> This is not quite what I am trying to get at.  Maybe it  will help if
> I outline some hypothetical puppet shows that we can use as  examples:
> 1.  This is a puppet show about the Royal House of  England.  All the
> puppets are pieces of silverware, and the Queen is  played by a soup
> spoon.   The puppets are operated so as to  create in the audience a
> maximum forgetfulness that what they is viewing  is a bunch of spoons,
> forks and knives.  You can say this is trad  puppetry.
> 2. This is a puppet show about the Royal Family of  Dishland.  In
> Dishland, the ruling dynasty is the Silverware Dynasty,  and the
> current Queen is Queen Soupspoon.  Here, the audience is  aware that
> they are viewing silverware, but the silverware is  anthropomorphized
> - the story is told as if objects could live normal  human lives, and
> the puppets (i.e. the silverware) are operated so as to  make this
> believable.  This, too, is trad puppetry.
> 3.   This is an object performance about the goings-on within the
> Royal House  of England.   There is a narrator narrating events, and
> illustrating them by manipulating various objects.  A spoon with a
> wig is used to "stand in" for the Queen.  No attempt is made to
> create any illusion, and the "puppets" are used the way little
> movable  pin-ups on a map might be used to illustrate a narrative
> about troop  movements in a military campaign.  This is, broadly
> speaking, in the  same category of puppetry as your "Lion King"
> example - if you disagree,  maybe we should treat the "Lion King"
> example as a separate  one.
> 4.  This is a theater piece about the Queen of England,  involving
> live actors and puppetry.  The Queen  is at the dinner  table eating
> her soup, when the soup-spoon falls into her lap and  immediately
> starts taking root there.  Now the Queen has a soup spoon  growing out
> of her.  Soon the spoon sprouts other spoons, and the  Queen's body is
> partly taken over by this alien inanimate life.  One  might say that
> the spoon has now become Queen of England, but in a very  different
> way than in any of the preceding examples.   This is  the kind of
> thing that I was calling X-puppetry.  Daniel is right, I  think, to
> connect it to Surrealism, although I think these kinds of themes  also
> make their appearance before Surrealism - for example, in  Romanticism.
> -m
>> Dear Malgosia,
>>   Let  me get this straight. Are you saying that the difference 
>> between
>> neo-  and traditional puppetry is whether or not the focus is on the
>> illusion  of life in the  performing object?
>> If that is the case than one of  the best examples of the neo- genre 
>> is
>> Taymor's "Lion King." The Lion  Heads worn  on top of the actors heads
>> are neo- because they  merely imply "lion-ess"  (or is it "lionocity")
>> while not  literally portraying an illusion of a living lion. On the
>> other hand,  the shadow puppet lions from the same show are in 
>> strictly
>> trad  mode.
>> I think Jurkowski spelled out some of these ideas in his  writings. He
>> talks a great deal about the way puppet "signs" have  changed over 
>> time,
>> and he identifies the death of the illusion of life  in the puppet as 
>> a
>> characteristic of contemporary Western  puppetry.
>> Stephen
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