The last post talked about the first of three things to avoid during your puppet presentation. This one covers the second and third.
A ventriloquist is someone who speaks without moving his lips to give the illusion that the voice is coming from somewhere else. A ventriloquist puppet is one that doesn’t move his mouth, but the words still come out anyway. Puppets shouldn’t work on their ventriloquism skills during a puppet play.
This happens for a couple of reasons. Most often it’s from a lack of focus. If you’re doing a pre-recorded play and let your mind wander, you can miss lines. It can also happen if you’re focused on helping someone else with their lines and miss your own. If you’re doing a live play, it can happen from too much concentration. If you don’t know the script well enough, you have to concentrate even more on the page so you don’t miss a line. Sometimes, in that instance, you may say the words with your mouth, but forget to move the puppet’s mouth.
The Human Arm and Hands
Human arm puppets are good to use and see, but the audience shouldn’t see an actual human arm or hand. If you raise your puppet too high, the audience can see its bottom edge and your arm which ruins the illusion of lifelikeness that you want to maintain. When using the arm rods, be careful that you don’t raise your hand over the top of the theater. When adult members of the audience see an arm or hand, they’ll politely overlook it, but you can’t count on that with children. If one sees it, you can safely assume that they’ll point it out to their friends next to them and will miss out on what the puppet is saying at that point.
During practices continue to focus on what each puppeteer should do to maintain quality in your programs, but don’t overlook these three things they shouldn’t do.