Welcome back to the Creventive Puppet Co. blog,
I recently had the opportunity to mentor with the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia.
The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia is known for their puppet adaptations of classic literature. Their current touring show is an adaptation of stories based on books by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, including: "Brown Bear", "The Hungry Caterpillar", and more.
During their performance at College of DuPage, they offered a behind the scenes puppetry workshop to students. I was invited by fellow puppeteer: Frank Cesario to participate in this fun-filled event.
We were taken backstage and met with the cast of puppeteers. All of the puppets were built in their workshop in Nova Scotia. The cast consisted of a total of three brilliant puppeteers who performed and wrangled the puppets during the tour to keep them in order.
The backstage tour began with explaining the different stories for the show, how the stage was setup, then we dove directly into manipulation. Each puppet moved in a variety of unique ways based on what kind of animal it was. The majority of the puppets were rod/buraku puppets, full-body and could be operated by a single puppeteer. For instance, the frog puppet was able to jump. The duck puppet was able to waddle/swim from side to side, while the dog was able to run and pant. In order to make these puppets move properly, you need to reference and study nature, based on the type of animal. The stage was entirely utilized by full-body puppets that moved around on stage using blacklight. The puppeteers wore all black to make them disappear, while the puppets were highlighted with blacklight. The show takes a lot of rehearsing in both learning how the various puppets needed to be manipulated, along with working with fellow puppeteers in the dark.
The tour ended with a Q/A for the students to ask questions. I highly recommend seeing the show this weekend before their tour ends.
For more information: http://chicagochildrenstheatre.org/shows/brown-bear-brown-bear-other-treasured-stories/
Until next time, stay Creventive!