Preview: Puppet Lobby #6

The dinosaurs are coming! We are thrilled to be welcoming not one, not two, but THREE fabulous puppet builders to our first Puppet Lobby of the fall. What do they have in common? They’ve all built dinosaur puppets, for very different projects. Francisco Benavides created a mammoth for an immersive theater experience in Baltimore, Matt McGee built a family of dinosaurs for the American classic The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, and Ingrid Crepeau invented a whole cast of different dinos for her popular children’s show DinoRock. The Puppet Lobby is free and open to everyone and starts at 8:00pm on Monday, October 15 at the Brookland Artspace Lofts’ Selman Gallery.  Come hear about these puppeteers and their research process, designs, successes and failures as they created these prehistoric creatures!

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Ingrid Crepeau models one of her dino heads with Michele Valeri.

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Marvelous Marionettes

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.

Gecko marionette control

This is the control for Gecko. It moves his back legs and one of his front legs.

Loopy marionette control

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.

School of Fish control

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.