How Consistent Are Your Characters?

We have a fairly large collection of plays to choose from, and included in that is a group of plays that use the same characters. The group includes one adult, five children, and a dog, but all the characters don’t appear in every play.

When we had a traveling team, it didn’t really matter who worked what puppet since the audience would only see the plays once. When determining who would do what puppet, I’d look at the overall program and disperse the roles as evenly as possible.

Now, we don’t have a traveling team, but one that ministers to the same group of children over and over. With that in mind, I want the characters to remain consistent in their mannerisms, mouth movements, and actions. To accomplish that, rather than randomly assigning parts for each performance, I assign roles.

One person is assigned the adult puppet so whenever that puppet appears in a play, that person performs the part regardless of how much or how little they are doing in the rest of the program. The same is true for all the other puppets in the series.

It doesn’t always work out for the same person to do the same puppet every time. Sometimes a puppeteer is missing on that Sunday and someone else has to fill in. Our team is large enough, that several of the roles are assigned to two people; the primary puppeteer and a backup puppeteer in case that happens.

That also helps during practice time. When practicing the play, the backup puppeteers listen to and practice the part using a different puppet. That way, they don’t sit idle during the practice time.

Keeping consistency in your characters isn’t vital, but does show a desire for quality which is what every team should strive for.  

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