Creating New Shows:
How Do We Create A New Show?
Puppet shows are more closely related to dance than literature. Colour, size, shape and movements of the puppets play a huge role in conveying the content.
We start off by choosing a traditional tale with a meaningful story line. We run it through further criteria: how many puppets? Does the story rely on a narrator? Would it be better as a hand puppet show or shadow puppet play? Are there opportunities to let the audience take part? Are there nursery rhymes, folk songs or children’s songs we could incorporate? Would the show be portable?
Then the fun begins: we take puppets or objects and pretend they are what we want to build. We brainstorm, noting down all options for the choreography and scenery. There are so many decisions about materials to use and looks to decide on. Often one or the other component turns out to be our favourite. If it does not become obvious during one rehearsal, we set the idea aside. One or the other of us might have an idea by next week. When we feel the chosen setting and puppets will create an exciting show, we proceed. If we abandon a show idea, we still had fun. We are free to choose.
When the preparations are well under way, we offer a free preview to our friends downstairs: The Montessori School. Teachers and students provide us with honest feedback. They are excited to be part of the creative process. Usually we also ask a retired puppeteer to come in for directions. We incorporate the suggestions and rehearse more to get ready for a show.
We video ourselves and view to self-correct. In our interactive shows we spend a lot of effort to enact the character so the puppets can communicate to each other and the audience following the story line and in response to the situation. It is important to portrait the mood changes of the puppet characters.