File puptcrit/puptcrit.0612, message 159

Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 00:24:20 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] the most masterful puppeteers

Steve's observations are right on the mark.
As pointed out by Nancy, such lists reveal more about the list-ers than 
it does the list-ees. So mine is admittedly biased towards NYC-based 
white males (Sorry about that.) Also it's quite incomplete. In addition 
to puppeteers residing in other portions of the known universe,  it 
should have also included Basil Twist and Ralph Lee (yay, home team!). 
Who else of import did I leave out?

However I do feel sorry for jumping into this thread with out 
consideration of the whole concept of rating the "mastery" of each 
other's work in such a crudely quantifying manner. Perhaps what we 
should be discussing is not the contents of our individual master's 
list, but how we go about recognizing genius and mastery within our 


On Dec 18, 2006, at 12:01 AM, steve abrams wrote:

> Some thoughts on lists and awards and most masterful puppeteers-
> I like Stephen Kaplin's response, and his list
> I enjoy  lists of best 100 movies, best rock albums of all time, etc
> Best lists helped to inspire me, to test my growth. Around the age of 
> 30 I
> was sure that any critic who left MY favorite artist off a list, was of
> course a total idiot
> Every January the NY Times offers not one, but 3 lists of the best 10 
> films
> of the year, 3 lists by 3 different critics. I think they have that 
> exactly
> right. If a film shows up on 2 or even 3 lists, then it is definitely 
> a film
> that should be explored.(the thinking behind the UNIMA citations, runs 
> along
> the same lines- if 3 respected people agree on a show, it is a show of
> considerable note)
> In the mid 70s when Siskel and Ebert (two terrific film critics)  
> agreed on
> some films and offered opposite opinions about  other films, then all
> benefited from the dialogue.
> A few years back on puptcrit,  I wrote something like this-
> At Christmas time, when I was a lad, I would look over toy catalogs
> and circle the items that I wanted  from Santa. Most of those
> requests were unfulfilled, but I continued to make wish lists. When I
> began to read puppetry books and Puppetry Journal, I had a long list of
> shows and
> artists that I wanted to see:
> So puptcritters, in the spirit of the season, to restate Rachel's  
> question
> a different way
> What is on your wish list?
> or
> If you wanted someone you care about to really understand what it is 
> that
> makes you so passionate about puppetry-what shows or artists would you 
> send
> them to see? (Its a little like asking- whats on your ipod)
> Stephen's list was limited to USA puppeteers but  I would add at least 
> three
> international
> "masters" who helped to define the best in puppetry.
> It would be hard to overstate the importance of Albrecht Roser 
> (Germany) as
> both an artist and teacher.
> Richard Bradshaw (Australia) is certainly a master who has inspired 
> others
> to explore shadow puppets.
> and
> Ronnie Burkett (Canada) has helped to redefine the emotional depth 
> that is
> possible in puppet theatre
> Cheers
> Steve
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Stephen Kaplin" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2006 11:15 PM
> Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] the most masterful puppeteers
>> That's a realio complexio questio.
>> Lets break it down into catagories. These are my nominations for (US
>> only):
>> -Best Puppet builders: Michael Curry, Marty Robinson.
>> -Best Directors for Puppets and masks (Puppeteer division): Peter
>> Schumann, Eric Bass,  Janie Geiser
>> -Best Directors for Puppets and masks (non- Puppeteer division): Julie
>> Taymor, Lee Breuer, Ping Chong
>> -Best Puppet Familes; The Carter clan, The Henson cabal
>> -Brainiest Puppeteers: John Bell, Roman Paska
>> -Loudest Puppets: Big Nazo
>> -Biggest Puppet: Michael Curry's Bird/River thing for the Atlanta
>> Olympics
>> -Most influential Puppet companies of the last 40 years: Bread and
>> Puppet, The Muppets.
>> Please feel free to amend or add some more  catagories.
>> SKa.
>> On Dec 14, 2006, at 2:47 PM, Rachel Anthonisen wrote:
>>> I would be interested to hear from people who they think are the 
>>> realio
>>> truelio most fabulous puppet masters alive in the world today - let's
>>> keep
>>> it to counting on only one hand- the 3-5 very very best, whom we must
>>> see
>>> before we die,
>>> thank you,
>>> Rachel
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