Wit’s End artistic director Cecilia Cackley is currently traveling in South America. While she is gone, Cecilia is keeping a visual journal of the places she visits and shows that she sees. She will be posting pages here occasionally as virtual postcards from her trip.
For a very long time, marionettes were the one form of puppetry I was a bit scared of. So many strings, so wobbly and hard to control. They felt like the most complicated kind of puppet out there and I wasn’t sure I could construct one adequately, let alone perform it. In spite of that, quite a few of our characters in the Paper World section of The Amazing and Marvelous Cabinets of Kismet are marionettes or variations of marionettes. Here are some photos of the different controls and how they work.
This is the control for Gecko. It moves his back legs and one of his front legs.
This is the control for the Loopy. It’s a variation on a 19th century control that I found a picture of in a book. The bottom piece unhooks to move the two “arms” of the puppet, while the top piece anchors the rest.
One marionette is complicated enough. Putting together four of them makes some things easier and some things harder. You sacrifice individual movement when you put multiple puppets on the same control, but it’s worth it to get the effect of the group moving together. Genna came up with the design for this control, of a whole school of Paperfish.
Our efforts have been focused on paper puppets for the past few weeks. With the help of Matthew McGee and puppeteers Heather Carter, Amy Kellett and Russell Matthews, we’ve created some new citizens of Paper World, out of scraps from SCRAP DC, local printers and the contents of the recycling bin.