File puptcrit/puptcrit.0703, message 89

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Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2007 17:25:48 -0500
Subject: [Puptcrit] Sand bag puppets

I have seen another light!
I have seen another truth!

No, it's not religious.
But almost.

I went to an evening of short puppet pieces, and saw "sandbag  puppets" by a French company called .Garin Trousseboeuf. The puppets ewre performed by students of a 5 day workshop they came to give in Montreal.
What movements!

Think of the classic Disney animation exercice of drawing sandbags as "creatures", and add head and the puppeteer's hand! The bodies are built like a glove puppet's glove, but the bottom is sealed, the sleeves are usually attached in the back of the puppet (and detached and used when needed), there are no hands attached the the sleeves, the puppeteer's other hand becomes the puppets's hand. The scale is weird and very appropriate. The head is a simple styrofoam egg with a dowel in it. The features are rough, formed with some kind of air-drying clay, and there are minimal details. The head dowel  goes trhough a reinforced hole in the body glove's neck. For an ideal weight, there is about two inches (or less) of sand in the bottom of the body bag. The rest is filled with regular fiberfill (polyester filling for pillows).
Don't worry, I did not have to touch the exhibit and risk my life to find out, I know one of the students, and she let me examine her own puppet, made during the course.

Sorry, they seem to have no website of their own, and I could not find any other photos of these specific puppets online during my quick search.
Feel free to share links of photos if you do find some!

So simple! 
So efficient!
(I know I use these two terms a lot, but these, in combination, are what always impress me the most).

I am going, tomorrow, to see the company's own performance with these puppets.
I saw the puppets VERY up close, they have some of them in exhibit at the Theatre where the festival takes place. Some don't even have a glass display case, so texture is easy to see.
So darn simple and beautiful, especially under the stage lights.
The puppets are quite small, so when I was sitting in the middle of the theatre, I did not realise they had eyes.
all I saw was empty orbits, in shadow. Wonderful as-is, and probably just as wonderful up close, but different.

I want to explore possibilities from this puppet type. I have this thing about not being willing to copy something entirely, so I will try various hybridations, and total differentiations. I had been wanting to make something similar in the apst, but never with this much enthusiasm! I once did "beanbags" in the shape of fish for an April Fool's event to fund a Commedia dell'Arte play. The EBan bag game board was in the shape of a comical Arlecchino, at ewhich you threw the fish, which he caoyugh in his mouth, in his hand, or in his opened belt pouch. 

I already see germination in my mind of self-changing puppets, as the sand flows from one part to another.
Gravity helps puppeteers!

Polichinelle awaits finishing, but I just had to share this with you all!
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