After watching a very awesome Taiwanese puppet show in the morning (more on that in the next post after I go through the videos), I went to my theatre puppetry class in the afternoon. Yes, my Saturday was indeed full of puppets.
In this class, we worked on this short musical number some more. In the last two weeks we were only doing lip-sync, but this week we were playing the karaoke track. That meant we all had to sing (or find some other way to make it interesting if we couldn’t sing). We also did some other singing exercises in different voices. It was fun to hear everyone’s non-talking voice.
I also learned this little trick of following the notes on sheet music. This means when your puppet is singing a high note, its head will point upwards and when it’s singing a low note, the head will point down more. Of course, this rule is not something that’s set in stone, but it definitely helped making the performance more expressive.
And we learned another piece of choreography that’s focused on rod manipulation. Speaking of rods, we also got to play with some Wayang golek (Indonesian rod puppets). These has some pretty unique movements and it wasn’t something that I immediately got a hang of. And I had no idea that those heads just sit on the main rod, and it wasn’t really attached so you could remove it quite easily. Who knew?
We also played with a Bunraku-style puppet (the simplified kind, not the Japanese kind). We had been working with these Muppet/Avenue Q style puppets that has no legs, so people really jumped on the chance to play with a puppet that has legs. We made it dance. We made it run. We made it leap through hurdles. And once again, although it took three people to control one puppet, somehow we all worked pretty well together.
I really enjoyed the fact that we are covering a wide range of topics. But one of the things that I enjoyed the most was when the whole class let out an enthusiastic “Yayyyyyyyyy!” after every little performance. It made the whole environment very encouraging and welcoming. Perhaps we should all do this yay thing more often.
Theatre Puppetry Workshop (Beginning): Weeks 1, 2