File puptcrit/puptcrit.0803, message 324

Date: Sun, 23 Mar 2008 14:18:30 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Can Horrendous be Appealing and Efficient?

  Hi Anne, 
  When someone decides to build a puppet many choices in materials that could be used are available. What matters most (in my opinion) is the effect over the audience that that puppet is going to have, during the performance, not the fact the builder used real diamonds to make the puppet=92s eyes or even the eyes of a recently deceased monkey, for the same purpose. Are we all forgetting that like many other arts, puppetry is MAKE BELIEVE, not REAL LIFE? 
 Mary's was right. A human skull or anything associated with our ancestral fear, death and the dead, would be used strictly to shock the audience, or to exploit certain feelings. However, I fail to understand why is it so important to use the real thing as opposed to a skull made of resin, plastic or any other material. The use of the real skull only satisfies some strange desire inside the builder. The spectators have no way of telling the difference between plastic (well painted and aged) and human bone unless someone tells them in advance and then the builder may be faced with a real =93party pooper=94, which is the spectators not giving a damn about the real skull. If I add the possibility of having a puppeteer (handler) bluntly refuse to touch a puppet made of real human bones and skull, instead choosing to hit the builder up the head with that puppet, you probably have the same picture in your mind as I do.   I strongly believe that a puppetry show has much more to do
 with the performance itself than with what materials were used to build the puppets. The shows in which I performed were for both adults and children, and yes, we did have skeletons in one of them, but they were made of hollow metal. Great choice, because the sound of metal was both terrific and terrifying! With real bones this effect could not have been achieved. To conclude, I must say that while I accept a builder=92s choice in materials used to make a puppet, stuff like =96 real bones and skulls =96 bring absolutely nothing else to a show that the fake ones couldn=92t.

Anne Schaefer <> wrote: I said earlier that I would find real bones used in puppets to be  
"disturbing", but I have to qualify that by saying that I didn't mean  
that it shouldn't be done.

How about "death masks"?  Or "life masks", for that matter.  If you  
were doing a show about Beethoven, for example, and used his actual  

Interesting thread.

On Mar 23, 2008, at 10:39 AM, Mary Robinette Kowal wrote:

> On Sun, Mar 23, 2008 at 7:24 AM, Mathieu René  
>  wrote:
>>  Still, I'd love to get a real human skull to use as a model to study
>>  anatomy.
> I used a real dog skull to build a dead dog for a show. The skull was
> one of the most beautifully engineered things I've held in my hands.
> If I were building a naturalistic human, I'd be tempted to do the same
> thing but I'd go with a resin skull rather than bone for two practical
> reasons: durability and cost.
> It also avoids the taboo issue that people have and unless provoking a
> reaction is the goal of using the skull, I think respecting the
> audience's cultural mores is important.
> I'll also say that the body that I built for the dog was a simplified
> version of an anatomically correct skeleton.  I used thin sheets of
> foam cut into the shape of the major muscles to cover the skull and
> the skeleton and was stunned by how beautifully the dog moved.  I
> didn't have any of the bunching problems with the foam that one often
> gets in a flat-patterned figure.  I'm really looking forward to trying
> it again.
> Yours,
> Mary
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