From Idea to Plan
Puppet Design takes 2-D characters and translates them into patterns and processes to create 3-D puppets that can perform in the medium required. The best puppet designs are not just good to look at, but can be built to be effective tools of the puppeteer's performance.
Rather than try to describe one puppet that can do anything, a good puppet design uses material choices, movement quality, size, and an integration into the production as a whole to create only what is needed for the performance.
From Plan to Reality
A good puppet gets built at least three times: once in rough materials to gauge how it will look in three dimensions and with a performer; once in materials similar to final materials to test movement and overall aesthetics; and once in the final materials to make a performance-ready puppet with patterns for documentation. The designs are refined at each stage of the build, and even the best-made puppets need some level or maintenance or repair throughout their lifetimes.
Bring objects to life
Performing with a puppet is acting through another body. Whether the puppet is used to tell stories, elicit a response from the audience, or illuminate something about ourselves, there is a kind of magic that exists between a well-performed puppet, it's puppeteer, and the audience.
Like playing a musical instrument, a good performer can coax beautiful moments out of everyday objects, but a well-built puppet in the hands of an expert performer is sublime.
Bring in the Experts
Puppetry can take a lifetime to master, but it offers many points of entry to those who are interested. Whether you are a builder who wants to create moving creatures, a performer looking for a new tool to connect to your audience, or if you've been interested in puppetry at some point, learning puppetry can help develop skills to use in your everyday life.
Puppetry isn't just for kids, but it can help find the child-like wonder in us all.
An Eye on the Big Picture
A Puppet Director acts as a liaison between a production's Director, and the Puppeteers. In the most collaborative productions, the Puppet Director is brought onboard from the first moment puppetry is considered. They can help in the pre-production process to think about the puppets' tracks from storage to performance, and during the rehearsal process to help shape the best staging and performances.
Finding the Right Set of Skills
There are many performers who have varying levels of puppetry skills at the ready. Some have more experience in manipulating shadows, some specialize in marionette performance. Some performers may have the skills necessary to make repairs on the fly, and some may be able to improvise with live actors.