File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 115


To: <puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 17:00:43 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Bread Puppet addition


Gina,
I hope that you do ok with the board meeting tomorrow.  It is important that 
puppeteers have advocates such as you in venues like yours.

This has been a very interesting thread.  I am not personally that excited 
about blatantly political puppetry, but will always defend the right of a 
company to do it - to the right audience.

Since the people who are part of Puppetcrit come from all over the world, it 
may be important to let Puppetcritters know that a portion of the residence 
in your area are military personnel and/or their families.  So their 
reaction to "a sign that had the number of troops and civilians killed in 
Iraq" might be more difficult for them to watch than for an audience here in 
Asheville, in Chicago, Denver or many other places in this country.

As soon as the article showed up on Google, I e-mailed it to the Asheville 
Puppetry Alliance Board to remind them how important it is for presenters to 
encourage communication between themselves, the performers and the people 
doing the marketing for each show.  It is difficult enough to make an 
audience understand that not all puppet shows are appropriate for 
pre-schoolers. (How many of us have heard a proud parent said "But you don't 
understand, my 2 year old is very advanced.")  It is our responsibility, as 
puppeteers, to make sure that the shows are appropriate for the audience 
that will be attending.  And if a mistake is made when we arrive at a venue 
and see the audience, we need to talk to the powers that be. Gina was right 
to question why the puppeteers did not check out the audience as they were 
filing in and check with her if they thought it might not be appropriate.

Just my thoughts.

Susan



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gina Gambony" <ginagambony-AT-bellsouth.net>
To: <puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org>
Sent: Monday, November 10, 2008 12:52 PM
Subject: [Puptcrit] Bread Puppet addition


>I wish I could say that I'm surprised puppeteers can analyse this issue 
>with
> more intelligence than the Suits, but alas, I cannot.  I'm not surprised 
> at
> all :)
>
> To clarify a couple of issues:  I was totally familiar with the troupe and
> had planned the "family show" (advertised as being for all ages) for 
> schools
> and the "grown-up show" (called Storm Office) as an evening performance 
> for
> ages 16+.  I have seen B&P at a nearby town (Burgaw) perform their family
> circuses WITHIN the school system, and the shows were incredibly 
> tame-still
> smart, but not in-your-face political.  I had not seen this specific 
> circus,
> but assumed it would as family-friendly as the others that have been 
> playing
> in Burgaw, a more rural, more conservative locale.
>
> A couple days after the fiasco I learned from the teacher in Burgaw that 
> she
> had tight control over the acts presented when she had them in the
> system...so...even though I do not claim ignorance, the experience I had
> held some hidden factors of which I was unaware.
>
> I was disappointed that the troupe said the show was "family-friendly, but
> not for elementary school students" for several reasons, including my
> difficulty wrapping my brain around what exactly that means.  Our audience
> was apparent (house lights up the whole time), and if they truly believed 
> it
> was not appropriate for these kids, I wish they would have omitted the 
> acts.
>
> While I did facilitate and participate in the pre-show workshops, I did 
> not
> see the skits that caused the controversy.  I found a space for them (and 
> me
> and the workshoppers-ages 9-50ish) to perform the whole circus after they
> left the theatre and after seeing the whole thing I realized why the show
> had been stopped when it was (a sign that had the number of troops and
> civilians killed in Iraq).
>
> After saying all this, I still support the work they do, and they were 
> kind
> and wonderful people.  I do not agree that the show was inappropriate for
> elementary school kids.  Some of the description put forth by the Offended
> individucal was over-blown or down-right untrue.  I am a strong proponent 
> of
> critical thinking, which is why I recently left my teaching position in 
> the
> public school system.  Of course "appropriate" is entirely debatable, but 
> in
> this neck of the woods I would have asked them to remove a couple of skits
> just to save our own teeth-but not because of legitimate 
> inappropriateness.
>
> The worst part of it in the end is that my boss had skepticism about
> inviting the troupe in the first place; I convinced him otherwise, basing 
> my
> advocacy on what I saw in Burgaw.  This was clearly a mistake on my part,
> although I'm still contemplating just how this got so crazy.  My board of
> directors meets tomorrow and I will learn my fate!  Either way, I'm still
> committed to the puppetization of my town, which will have amazing
> by-products, including critical thinking and happiness.
>
> BTW I have the cheap art manifesto framed (which is kind of funny) in my
> home office, and a picture of Peter Schumann in my work office!
>
> _______________________________________________
> List address: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
> Admin interface: http://lists.puptcrit.org/mailman/listinfo/puptcrit
> Archives: http://www.driftline.org


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