File puptcrit/puptcrit.0707, message 212

Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2007 21:40:53 EDT
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Stringing small marionettes


I'd like to chime in on the stringing question. 

The marionettes have to be strung so that, as you say, they are at a 
comfortable height for you, the operator. So forget about what you've read. 

In your case, Jon, since you are using short stringing, the reaction time 
should be almost immediate, regardless of the material. (string) 

In theory, the distance (length) of the strings from the control has little 
to do with how soon the marionette will respond. The MATERIAL used for the 
strings determines the reaction time. If one were to use very fine wire, for 
instance ( I don't recommend it, but it's been done) which has little if any 
stretch, the movement of the marionette will be immediate. 
If one were to use braided nylon fishline which is and has been for years, 
the string of choice, then the reaction time is somewhat delayed.
This is because the braided nylon stretches. It's part of the design that as 
tension is applied, the braid tightens and becomes stronger. And longer. If 
one were using the line to fish, the stretch wouldn't matter. 

Some puppeteers have gone over to braided dacron line because the stretch 
factor is less. This is, in part, due to the nature of dacron itself, and because 
some braided dacron line has an internal linear core of material to minimize 
stretch. But if one were to use even dacron from an eight foot bridge, there 
would be a delay in reaction time that one would need to anticipate. 

The color many puppeteers use is black. Green is a great choice if you are 
shooting video against a green screen. (I used to know the proper term...)   I 
use black because it's what I use. 

I agree totally with Carolina that the FACT of the strings isn't that 
important. I once stated in a workshop that one could use clothesline if that's what 
one had, IF the piece was strong enough to hold the audience. If the audience 
buys into what you are selling, the strings disappear.

I hope this helps.
Fred Thompson

> I have an antique set of Heimtheater marionettes.=A0 The adults are=A0
> about 10" tall.=A0=A0 I want to use them and I am in the process of=A0
> replacing the old strings (cotton and rotting). I have been stringing=A0
> the puppets so that the control is at a comfortable height when the=A0
> puppet is standing on the floor.=A0 However, I just read in a book that=A0
> the smaller the marionette, the shorter the strings need to be.=A0 Does=A0
> anyone know the reason for this?=A0 The only thing that I can think of=A0
> is that there might be less sway when the puppet is walking.=A0 To be=A0
> honest, I cannot tell much difference, but I am such a rank amateur=A0
> that I may be missing something.
> Also, any thoughts on whether black or dark green is a better color=A0
> for the strings?=A0 I imagine that the green looked better under the=A0
> pre-electric lighting, but I don't think that I will be quite that=A0
> historically accurate.=A0 ( As an aside, has anyone actually tried to=A0
> create limelight?=A0 I have always wanted to try, but I am afraid that=A0
> I will blow myself up in the process.)
> Best regards,
> Jon

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