I've had the privilege of observing well over a hundred puppet teams perform and have seen some great performances. Many, though, were mediocre at best. What makes the difference? Well, there are many reasons, but this article will focus on three common mistakes mediocre teams make, that if corrected can move them to becoming a great puppet team.
The number one goal in working a puppet is to make it appear as lifelike as possible. The more natural yoursesame street episodes categoryappear in manner and actions, the better quality your team will maintain. Below are three areas that if corrected will make your puppets appear more lifelike.
Often when watching a puppet play, one or more puppets will slowly begin to sink as though they're caught in a quicksand patch. This happens when the puppeteer's arm gets tired or they aren't concentrating on their puppet.
I've seen plays where you can only see the puppets forehead while on stage. Other times, it looks like the puppet is riding in a boat with high waves. They slowly bob up and down during the entire performance. Others start with the puppet so high you can almost see the puppeteer's arm and end where you can barely see the puppet's mouth.
Not too long ago though, I saw a junior high team perform and what amazed me was every puppet started at the proper height and remained there the entire performance. If a junior high team can do it, the same is true for just about any puppet team.
There are two keys to maintaining proper height. The most important is to make sure your puppeteer's arms are strong enough to maintain consistent height. This is accomplished with weekly practices. The key is to not let the puppeteers slack off during practice. If they do, it will show up in performance.
The second key is that the puppeteers need to focus on their puppet as much as possible. If you're doing recorded plays, they should spend at least 90% of their time looking at their puppet; the other 10% looking at the puppets near them.
When a person stops looking at their puppet, they don't know if the puppet is at the proper height, leaning sideways, or bobbing. When you have the puppet at the proper height, make note of how much of the body is below the theater. Then keep scanning throughout the play to make sure that it remains there.
One more note. If you find your puppet has dropped too low, slowly bring it back to the proper height. If you just pop it up, it'll draw unwanted attention to that particular puppet.