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PLANNING A GOOD PUPPET SHOW
BY Phillip Huber
I am rarely planning a new production, since I am working in the format of a Variety Show. However, my planning for a new marionette act follows much the same principle as for an entire production. The very first people I consider are my audience members. Is my concept appropriate for the age, social, cultural, and education level of my audience? For me, it is particularly important that my concept transcends language barriers. In my world of the puppet, the spoken word holds far less importance than the visual and the musical. Does my concept seem compelling? This question is addressed on two different fronts. Will it be exciting and compelling for my audience, and... will it be exciting and compelling to me, especially after I have performed it hundreds and maybe even thousands of times? Is this concept inspired and unique in any way? This is another very important question for me as an artist. It is fine to be inspired by past creations and creators, but you, your art, and your audience will never grow if you do not try to find the unique and inspired way to tell your story. Does your concept have a definite beginning, middle and end? Can I introduce conflict or surprise to hold the audience's interest? When I have answered all these questions with affirmative answers, I know I am ready to begin the designing and building process.
If I have been true to all my principles, it is my hope that upon the completion of my show the audience will have been entertained, inspired, touched on some emotional level, challenged, maybe a little awed, and transported beyond their pre-conceived notions of what a puppet show means. I look upon a theater piece as a journey for artist and audience. It should deliver both to a place markedly different from the starting point. My goal is to make that journey seem effortless, surprisingly quick, and enjoyable for the audience. If all goes well, maybe the journey will feel the same for me! One thing is sure; I am educated and enlightened by every performance and every audience.