Friday, April 8, 2011

Puppets of Paper

I haven't seen a puppet show since grammar school. I felt this ache, this longing to sit pretzel-style and watch a story played out with strings and jangly limbs after stumbling upon an anthropologie video documenting a very cute puppet show. I remember seeing one in the distance when I was in Bath, trying to take tea with Dr. Darcy and find the glass-blowing museum before the last train back to Grantham left. There were people sitting in lawn chairs, eating ice cream despite the fact that in England the air was sharp with cold. I wanted so badly to lay in the grass and watch the puppets beat each other up with plastic clubs. But the train was calling. The train always calls.

Puppets used to scare me as a kid. But only on film. It was okay if I could touch their strings and giggle at their silly faces. I even loved, like any other little kid, any Jim Henson created creature. But I shivered and hid under a pillow if a Chucky movie or even that one scene in Steven King's Tommyknockers would come on. Even Goosebump's Slappy was a frightening foe - so much that I had to put my book face down so I couldn't see his creepy face on the cover. But when I watched the TV episodes, I liked the friendly puppet named Dennis who sounded too much like Goofy when he spoke. Cleary, it was the killer puppets that made my skin crawl. Don't even get me started on the Puppet Master Series. Those were probably the only scary movies that, oddly enough, didn't scare me.

So I've just gone from nostalgic to scary in a matter of two paragraphs. Haha. Sorry about that.

I've been daydreaming a lot because I don't have time to. So I keep stealing moments. In my dreams I'm a puppet with a paper-mache face and wire glasses, floating along by my strings in the mint-colored sky. There's a boy down below who can't float with us. His strings are tied to a hospital bed. He'll be okay; we send him delphiniums and dark chocolate and he smiles up at us. Sometimes, still, it makes me sad to recognize the distance between us. I dance harder and with more graceful wrist movements so that he might notice when he looks out his window and up at the sky.

I actually made a few puppet shows in my time in college. I have a reputation back at my undergrad home as being the resident puppet master, though I earned this title without really knowing it sat waiting for someone to come along and take it. In my freshman year I chose to use puppets in a creative assignment, by the suggestion of my professor, and she was excited enough that I actually did it that she sent word throughout the English department via trumpet. Since then I was called upon to take puppets, haha. In my last semester of college I took another class with that professor - Romanticism - and decided to bow out by way of a puppet final project. My friend and I were philosophy fans so we chose to present on Immanuel Kant, specifically on his aesthetics, which would match up well with the Romantic theme of the class. Little did we know that Kant's aesthetics were the most shaky of any of his ideas, but it seemed to go over well in class.

I had grabbed paper bags, felt, and printed giant pictures of the poets and philosopher. We worked on the script and laughed until tears poured down our cheeks. I apologize for the sound; our college was small with little choice for places to migrate to. The room we chose echoed and the people upstairs insisted in cooking in the middle of the day. The wind stole our voices when we tried to film outside. But we still had fun. Look out for Lord Byron's hanging mouth - that part always makes me chuckle.

Thanks for watching my crazy antics, haha. I hope you have a great weekend and embark on exciting adventures.


  1. Haaahaha. Byron seems to be perpetually astounded by something off in the distance! XD

    Puppets are fun. I'm always fascinated to watch the people maneuvering the ones with all those strings since I'm sure I could never be dexterous enough to do it.

  2. I know, right? Hahaha, Silly Byron. I bet he was like that a bit in real life too.

    Yes, same here. I'd probably get all the strings tangled :)

  3. Very cute! I have a thing for marionettes, love hate relationship really. Same with porcelain dolls. I am utterly terrified of them, yet love looking at them (they are rather beautiful). Puppets do bring back rather nostalgic memories, don't they?

    xx and hugs