File puptcrit/puptcrit.0904, message 388

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 2009 15:50:40 -0400
To: puptcrit puptcrit <>
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] skill sets & limits

Collaborating, finding and nurturing, directing, hiring and working with
others is a complicated skill set.

Touring, in 1993, a collaborative mask and puppet performance of A Midsummer
Night's Dream through Russia was an eye opener.  In Russia where puppetry is
a well respected art form, the normal Puppet Theater had a dozen actors and
five to ten builders, designers, etc on staff.  It has only been in recent
times that the one or two person puppet theater reappears.  In collaborating
with Skomorokh Puppet Theater of Tomsk Siberia, I clearly saw some of what
was gained and lost, and how the individual personal touch, was in the best
cases, still maintained.

Part of what has always drawn me to mask and puppet theater is that it can
be done so effectively at so many different production levels and sizes.

Growing up, I attended both magic and juggling conferences.  I was intrigued
by my different experiences of each.  The art form had such impact on the
very nature of the interactions.  Jugglers were excited to share and the
more skilled performers were quite willing to take a moment, teaching and
sharing.  As can be imagined the magic conference was politely friendly but
professionally very guarded.

One of the common threads I find in puppeteers is inventiveness with a heavy
dose of self reliance.  Maybe the very nature of the art form,
transformation, bringing the inanimate to life, impacts.  It proved easier
to collaborate, and direct a full stage production, and perform with a
Russian Puppet Company (even though we did not speak the same language) than
to direct an equally sized production collaborating with an Opera Company
and Symphony in the US where one would think there would be less
communication issues.  Both experiences seriously stretched and expanded the
skill sets available to Open Hand Theater.

How and when I "limit or expand" my work by reaching beyond myself is such a
complicated process.  Vision, ego, necessity, hunger, protectiveness,
capacity, opportunity, and luck are all in play.


On 4/25/09 8:45 AM, "Hobey Ford" <> wrote:

> "To what extent does that pride,
> and fear of loosing the personal touch, create a barrier that limits
> the outcome? "
> This is an interesting thought.  We do get comfortable with the status
> quo and that can be limiting.  I also like what you said about
> creativity being your most important skill.
> I waited for that Lucas call as well then realized that this is it. ;o)
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