File spoon-archives/puptcrit.archive/puptcrit_2003/puptcrit.0304, message 47

Subject: PUPT: More thoughts onToy Theatre
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 14:49:54 -0700

Thank you all for the feedback on the toy theatre scale question.  I have
thought about the video solution (pointing a video camera at the show and
having it be larger on a screen or projected for the audience).  I have been
operating under the assumption that the smallness and lowtech-ness of the
show has been one of the things that set it apart & made it interesting to
the audiences.  So far most of my toy theater puppets are unanimated paper
figures that slide on and off.  If they were projected large I wonder how
interesting they would be...when they are small, you can't really tell if
they are animated or not and you can imagine that they are or might be(???)
If projected the audience might want to see them do more.  (From reading
some of the posts I realize that some of you are using 3D figures that are
animated...certainly that would offer more dramatic possibilities...I am
still exploring the flat, paper possibilities.)  On the other hand if they
are too small the audience might find it a frustrating or dissatisfying
experience and not enjoy the show.

The other thing that I am guessing my audiences find enjoyable is the
apparent impracticality of the art form.  It seems fun that one is watching
a very miniature show that has a cast of 50 (puppets if not characters) and
curtains and lights on dimmers with gels, etc.  Also, all of the plays we
have presented so far have been somewhat erotic in nature and I have
suspected that the fact that they are so small that they can not be seen
well might add to the dramatic tension.  The use of opera glasses may add a
sense of voyeurism, considering the intimate nature of what the audience is
The plays also seem to have to rely more heavily on text as puppet action
may be harder to interpret in the small scale.  At the regional P of A
festival at Asilomar last summer we did one performance of the show for over
60 persons.  Before the show I urged some to leave and come to a second or
third showing as I feared they would not be able to see, but none left.  As
they seemed to enjoy the show anyway, I surmised that the text carried a lot
of the show for many; perhaps these scripts could even be enjoyed as
reader's theatre which is quite different from our other works.

Again, thank you for sharing your comments,
Michael Nelson

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