File puptcrit/puptcrit.0904, message 214


Date: Wed, 15 Apr 2009 08:39:50 -0700
To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] High School puppet shows




> He also said something that really struck me...that we have no problem
> getting children to our productions and even getting adults to our
> productions but we sort of kiss our audience good bye between  
> middle school
> and college....why?

Personal theory here, with little to really back it up, but let's see  
what y'all think. Kids like being kids, and enjoy puppets as they  
are. Adults often want to return to childhood, and so will go see  
puppets, and then are happy to discover that they can be far more  
that cut out rabbits on sticks bouncing around to music (you know  
what I mean I hope). But in Middle school and High School, kids are  
trying to figure out what it is to be an adult, and to fit into that  
picture. For them, that means rejecting what they were before- 
childlike. Here, puppets are still initially seen as childlike, since  
most people really haven't seen anything else.
The very first live shows that I was paid to do, back in my college  
days, were for the middle school audience. Apart from learning  
puppetry, we were at a Jewish Camp, and the show was for Yom  
Ha'atzmaut (sp?) or Israel Independence Day. Not being jewish, I was  
also learning a different culture, some Hebrew, a new  
religion...Confronting.
The puppeteer I was working with at the time, Len Levitt, dealt with  
this audience very well. To get over the fact that most of the kids  
thought puppets were going to be stupid, We made sure that they were.  
We started the show with a large headed character (These were all  
original Muppet style puppets) pompously entered an went on a long  
speech about how we had spared no expense to bring them a masterpiece  
of puppetry art. I would then bring up a bad, hand drawn back drop,  
and as the audience started to think they really were going to hate  
this show, a large googly-eyed monster would burst through the  
backdrop and eat it. As the narrator tried to continue, the monster  
would slowly eat all the features off his face, and finally tear his  
head off--something that I suspect the middle schoolers wanted to do  
themselves. From there, we had a character that was just as doubting  
and sarcastic as the audience, but who did get the message as the  
show progressed.

Apart from those days, I am kind of in Grego's camp. I can out- 
wrestle the kids, and I can usually out run the adults. With MS and  
HS, it is too close to call.
Greg but no O


On Apr 15, 2009, at 6:29 AM, Ann Legunn wrote:
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