File puptcrit/puptcrit.0612, message 52

Date: Thu, 7 Dec 2006 00:45:07 -0800
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Puppet vs. Actor

On 12/6/06, Ed Atkeson <> wrote:
> Tim Giugni: >>> Many people fear boundaries. They believe that it
> hampers creativity. I would put forward that boundaries incite
> creativity as they force you to examine what can and cannot be done
> with the set of limitations that you are given.
> -----------------------------------------
> Tim, if by "boundaries" you mean "limitations," I agree wholeheartedly.

Um, no I mean boundaries (as in a clearly defined area in which to create).
In a quantity 'x' of theater to limit the creative impulse by saying no to
'some thing' is unheard of. No is a non-creative word. An ugly word. No is
no. Bad. Evil. Oppressive. Blaa, blaa, blaa. But no also gets those creative
energies going. No, we can't spend 20million dollars to create a rotating
stage that sings Christmas ditties. Hey, let's put people in a singing tree

BUT, I agree with your statement. I agree that the medium helps the message
(ooh, a Marshall McLuhan-esque moment). The underlying struggle (limitation)
brings more to the finished art.

I've been thinking about this limitations thing. For instance Peter
> Schumann uses masonite as a medium to make the prints on the flags and
> banners around the pageant field at the farm in Glover VT. Now this is
> a hellish medium. You need a sharp gouge and even then you're mostly
> out of control. Schumann is a great artist but I'm sure that the
> difficulty of the printing medium is a plus factor, the struggle helps.
> What about this idea: Puppet theatre is based on the idea of
> limitations. Puppet theatre is powered by limitation, starting with the
> big, upfront limitation: A puppet is obviously not a real actor.

But why must we assume that the puppet is NOT a real actor? Can only flesh
and bone with bits of fabric and human brain act?
The puppet can be crafted to be exactly what the director wants. Can be
crafted to be as limited or as unlimited as it needs to be. (okay that was a
very 12:30 at night thought, but I'll keep it in there anyway.)
Thought experiment time! Kermit the Frog? Actor? Character? Real actor? Bits
of cloth?

And anyone knows you can't make an actor out of a bit of wood and
> cloth, forget it, impossible, kid's stuff.

Ummm, eerrrr, ooookay.

But wait! There is an undeniable spark of humanity that appears, makes
> you smile and wonder, maybe identify a little. That spark shines
> through all the clumsiness and distortion, contrasts with it. That
> clear beam of connection is intensified because, look where it's coming
> from! an unabashedly unreal lash-up of a puppet. This may be a clue to
> where this puppetry stuff gets its power.

Oh, that paragraph connects with. Ah. I'm in the bus. You are driving.
Yes, yes, yesyes, big yes with identify. Yep-a-dee-doo-da. O the light of
heaven is bursting through the clouds and it's touch down for the 49ers (or
what ever sports team).

Thanks, Ed.

> Ed A
> PS I got my first copies of Puppetry International yesterday with my
> UNIMA membership. Pretty nice mag!
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