File puptcrit/puptcrit.0705, message 147

Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 20:56:41 -0700
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Dolls versus Puppets

So, Looking at the YouTube, I see performers, using dolls as puppets, 
and we are the Audience. Seems like it supports what I was saying, or 
did I miss something.

Also, there seems to be this general tone to the conversation that if 
it is not Theater, it is "less Than". Just because it goes from Theater 
to Play doesn't make it any less valuable to me.  Nor does labeling it 
Theater make it more valuable. In our Saturated society, I am really 
happy when I see kids that are just playing for themselves and not 
performing. But then I live too close to hollywood.  I went last week 
to see a middle school production of Beauty and the Beast. I told my 
friend that I was surprised by the talent in the show. She replied, 
"about 25% of them have agents already, and Belle just recorded an 
album". LA is scary.
On May 16, 2007, at 7:45 PM, Mary Horsley wrote:

> Did you check out the youtube yet?
> I think it will show exactly what Elaine and Charles are saying.....
> Mary H.
> On 5/16/07 10:36 PM, "Charles Taylor" <> wrote:
>>> From: Charles Taylor <>
> Greg Ballora states . .
>>> .
> =E2=80=9CIn Puppet Theater, there is a performer with a story or theme they 
> want
>>> to
> tell the audience. There is at least one object that they use to  tell
>>> the
> story. and there is at least one audience member that
> hopefully
>>> receives that story, or something like it.
> A child playing with a doll on
>>> their own is playing
> a child playing with a doll while someone else watches
>>> is just that,
> someone watching play.
> When the child decides to tell you a
>>> story with the doll, then it is
> theater.
> At least that is how it seems to
>>> me. Skinny lines between the two.
> watching a child play can be fascinating,
>>> and better than much theater that I
> have seen. But that doesn't necessarily
>>> make it theater.
> Time for someone else to chime in and prove me
>>> wrong.
> Greg=E2=80=9D
> Well Greg, how=E2=80=99s this chime?
> Let me speak from my
>>> experience as a little girl  between eight and ten years
> old.  I had Ginny
>>> dolls.  Today, young girls use Bratz dolls and Barbie dolls.
> We, my young
>>> neighbor and I, told complete stories with characters, sets,
> costumes, full
>>> manipulation like a young girl=E2=80=99s soap opera. It went on day
> after day.
>>> Like theater in the round, the audience, (my friend) was fully
> engaged in
>>> improvizinational theater with my dolls and myself. At some point,
> girls put
>>> their dolls away when they discover boys.  Some of us continued with
> dolls
>>> by making them into =E2=80=9CArt Dolls=E2=80=9D as we graduated with a degree in 
>>> art.
> The name may change but I think it is =E2=80=9Cdoll/art=E2=80=9D activity.
> When a
>>> child a receives a doll as a gift, it does not come with a written
> script. A
>>> girl creates her own story.  It is common for a girl to take the
> clothing
>>> off the doll and recostume it with her own creative ideas.  =E2=80=9CIf 
>>> doll
> furniture=E2=80=9D is not available  avant garde boxes, jewelry boxes, 
> blocks of
>>> wood,
> folded kleenxes etc. become stage sets and props.  Every doll
>>> production is
> created from raw imagination and whatever material is
>>> available.  If our cat,
> dog, teddy bear, little brother were available, they
>>> became the audience.
> Until then, rehersals continued until an audience
>>> could be procured.  But
> who=E2=80=99s to say that the single girl child is not her
>>> own audience? In my mind,
> that was theater!
> Elaine Taylor
> Play is the
>>> work of children. In our stressful age where everything seems to
> be
>>> questioned as to its value, there are those unenlighted folk who 
>>> still
> believe that if you don=E2=80=99t plant a crop or build a machine then your 
> work
>>> is of
> litle or no value. This attitude applies to ALL of the arts, theater,
>>> music,
> art, puppetry, interior design.   We all have heard comments about
>>> people who
> =E2=80=9Cplay=E2=80=9D with their puppets or =E2=80=9Cplay=E2=80=9D with their little
>>> dolls (meaning puppets.)
> Why then shouldn=E2=80=99t we puppeteers, of all people,
>>> see the true value of
> children playing with dolls. They are exercising great
>>> imagination, role
> playing, developing sensitivities and confidence. It may
>>> be the child is the
> only member of the audience. I=E2=80=99ve seen a few
>>> puppeteers that do exactly that.
> Not to mention any names, but I have seen
>>> forms of puppetry that =E2=80=9Cdevolved=E2=80=9D
> into doll playing with the
>>> manipulator. The audience did exactly what the
> adult does when watching a
>>> child play with a doll. That is to be a voyuer of a
> self indulged and self
>>> satisfying performance as it is played out by the doll
> manipulator/puppeteer. It=E2=80=99s still considered puppetry.
> As Jim Gamble
>>> said, =E2=80=9CA figure that is static is a doll, a figure that is
> kinetic is a
>>> puppet.=E2=80=9D  I would add that a doll that is kinetic is a puppet and
> a puppet
>>> that is static is no more than a doll.
> SAMANTICS?  I think Alan Cook=E2=80=99s
>>> encompasing definition of puppetry is the more
> acceptable to me.
> It allows
>>> one to break out of the box, explore, grow and see new horizons and
> possiblities. Art forms change, mutate, develope, rediscover, excite 
> and
>>> live
> and change our thinking. Certainly many examples of  puppetry does
>>> that! Doll
> playing is one more form of art and theater. Perhaps it is the
>>> true origin of
> theater that came before religious rituals or formal story
>>> telling or
> reinactments by adults.
> Charles
>>> Taylor
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