“If you would thoroughly know anything, teach it to others...”
So Why Puppets?
Puppets are magical for everyone, every age. They are magic because a puppet can literally be anything we want them to be. The puppet’s life comes from us; from our imagination is where the puppet’s life begins before we even have the puppet on our hand.
George Bernard Shaw once wrote that the influence puppets had played in his development as a child was greater than that of live actors.
What makes puppetry so appealing is the versatility. Everyday life situations can be played out by teachers and students, not just to entertain, but to teach.
Puppetry becomes a magnificently new way to broaden the dimensions of learning, social learning, interpersonal development, developmental issues...Anything can be taught with puppets in a way that live characters just can’t.
Young children generally accept puppets as non- threatening friends they can trust with their thoughts and feelings without fear of ridicule or reprimand that they would get from adults. Puppets can become a valuable tool to help educators, counselors and ministry leaders to teach, counsel and comfort.
To the fellow puppet makers out there, keep in mind that the puppet is a means to an end, rather than an end in and of itself. It’s an instrument. It is, however, a unique instrument that comes out of your imagination, so how it’s used also comes from that same space. Make the puppet, or buy the puppet to fit what you will use it for, not just for how it looks or how much it costs.
Puppets grab the attention in a way that few other art forms can. It may be because they allow audience to enter into a suspension of disbelief.
Puppetry naturally leads to creative thinking and imagination through play.
Almost every step of puppetry magic calls for the use of the spectator’s imagination which is so needed in today’s society where imaginations are often taken up with video games, movies and social media. Our current educational process has moved to teach children what to think, not how to think; this leads to the stifling of imagination. Puppetry keeps that imagination alive.
Puppets provide the opportunity to indulge in fantasy in a healthy way as well as to practice short term goals, express fears and speak up.
My Purpose for This Blog
The quote above reminds me of the importance of teaching what you know and knowing what you teach. In my years of working in different ministries and in different fields of study, I find that I have truly honed my skills the most when I am teaching others.
This quote has also been the driving force that has kept me on track when writing this blog and creating the training videos. I hope that you get as much pleasure out of the trainings as I have in Creating them for you.
In my studies of the art of puppetry, illusion, clowning and stage performance, I have found one common thread among them all; the suspension of disbelief. Whether it is a puppet performance, a stage production or a movie, this is vital for a performance to truly captivate an audience.
An audience goes to a puppet performance knowing that the puppets are merely dolls with moving parts, which are controlled by someone else, but during the time that they are spectators of the performance they have a willingness to forego reality for that period of time in order to be entertained.
Likewise, people go to the movies, play video games, get online, read books, create art, and “sleep perchance to dream” all for the sake of escaping their current reality if only for a moment.
While they are stepping out of reality, they don’t have to worry about the daily grinds of life for that brief moment. In some cases, that temporary escape gives clarity to a decision that has been eating away at them, it may help them regain focus needed to do a project, it may even assist by giving someone time to take a break and see the futility in a fight they had just had. Everyone has a reason for temporarily turning off reality and we all need to be able to do it constructively.
Puppetry is not only an escape mechanism for the audience that is viewing the performance, but also for the performer as well. Being able to temporarily become someone (or something) else is a great form of escapism.
Along with escaping reality and entertainment, puppetry can be a great teaching tool which we will cover in future posts, but first:
What You Will Find In These Blogs and Videos
There are many books out on the subject of puppetry, stage performance, branding and everything else needed to create an award winning puppet team. Depending on how much you have researched this topic, you may or may not find any new nuggets of information in these trainings that you can’t find online or in other places, but the thing is you will have to go to many different resources to find all of the information that I will be covering for you in one place, making it a one-stop shop for those wanting to truly learn about puppetry the right way.
Though I have primarily written this book for those looking to create a puppet team. This does not mean that the novice individual looking to play around with puppetry as a hobby cannot glean a plethora of information, nor does it exclude those not looking to work with puppetry as I plan on covering many topics that works specifically with the ins and outs of stage presence, branding, marketing, etc. Things that go beyond the spectrum of puppet performance.
If you are a hobbyist looking to learn the basics and develop skills, continue reading and watching. Who knows, you may want to advance your skill level to directing a puppet team in the future. I have tried to cover everything I could possibly think of dealing with puppetry and performance.
Be sure to check out the next blog as we go over some basic history of puppetry. I love the history of this universal art of storytelling and I hope that you do to.
After that, we will start a mini-series on the five basics of puppetry just to get you started on the right foot and propel you forward in learning more about this wonderful art form.
Thanks for reading. Remember to subscribe to the youtube channel if you haven’t and if you have any questions let me know.