subscribe to rss feed
subscribe by email

Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

Theatre Puppetry Workshop (Beginning): Week 3

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.

Related post:
Theatre Puppetry Workshop (Beginning): Weeks 1, 2


  1. January 25th, 2011 | 9:00 am

    Hi Kelvin,

    Seems to me the puppetry world is a very complex one. No wonder why when we watch them in action we can see them do so many things. It is nice to see you are so enthusiastic with the classes and the whole process. It really is amazing all the accomplishment a group can get when they are all motivated in the same direction, isn’t it?


    Alien Ghost’s last blog post..We Are Cars!

  2. January 25th, 2011 | 2:21 pm

    Hi Kelvin, I agree that a resounding affirmation at the end of any achievement, even one you might yourself consider quite small, is a great incentive to keep going and recognise how well you have done.

    Enjoy the journey.


    Mandy Allen’s last blog post..Don’t over commit

  3. January 25th, 2011 | 6:46 pm

    @Raul: Part of this is all the different varieties of styles, and of course, another part of it is just people splitting hairs. But hey, if you study any topic for a period of time, you eventually start splitting hairs. There is always room for improvement! Yay!

    @Mandy: Hm, perhaps that’s exactly what makes people spend so much time on video games!

  4. February 4th, 2011 | 12:24 pm

    Kelvin — I am thoroughly enjoying your puppetry class. I feel almost like I’m there, but must admit I’m relieved that I’m not because it sound easy to do, at all.

    Still, I read your enjoyment in your words and I know that you’re having a great time. I like the puppet heads move up for the high notes and down for the low notes…very clever. It must hard to get everything down — voices, movements, singing — I’m hoping you will eventually show a video of your production!

    I had to look up the rod puppets and found this rather funny video, . I can’t understand a single word, but I still laughed. It just goes to show that humor via puppets often knows no boundaries…it’s just funny. I also like how I could the person working the puppet…it was cool:~)

    Enjoy your classes and I know you will!

    Sara’s last blog post..Feeling Lucky?

  5. February 7th, 2011 | 2:05 pm

    Haha, yeah, I don’t understand the words in that video either. But hey, still fun. These puppets have such an interesting way of moving that you just don’t see elsewhere.

  6. February 28th, 2011 | 7:09 am

    Wayang golek? Now that is impressive. I’m Indonesian and I haven’t seen it in a while. Wayang golek show is already so rare unless you go to museums and really touristy places. Now I wanna watch some :)

    andhari’s last blog post..Project Saigon

  7. February 28th, 2011 | 4:48 pm

    Ha, the Indonesian has spoken. 😀

    With the prevalence TV and films nowadays, the traditional art forms are simply not shown so much anymore. However, they are still there if you actively seek them out. But you do need to do a little digging to find them at yes, museums, and festivals and special events. I tend to be drawn to traditional performance art forms. I found them quite charming.

  8. March 1st, 2011 | 2:07 pm


    I just stopped by to say thanks for your visits to my site. I always appreciate your responses. It’s nice to have people, like you, in the blogosphere:~)

    p.s. I hope the puppetry training is going well!

    Sara’s last blog post..Story Photo: You Be the Judge

  9. March 3rd, 2011 | 8:36 pm

    Hi Sara, thanks for stopping by even though I am really behind with my blog posts. I’ve simply been very busy lately…

Leave a reply

CommentLuv badge