Punchman's tips
THE EXTENDABLE NECK PUPPET
Christopher van Der Craats


This is a very traditional puppet. It makes its appearance in the famous
Puccini performance and is included in many old European puppet
collections. It is simple to make or you can quite easily adapt a puppet
to do this act.
The puppet is a normal glove puppet except that it has a dowel rod in
the hole where the index finger goes. A tube of fine cloth is sewn to
the costume and attached to the neck of the puppet. The cloth is fine so
that it bunches up neatly when the head is down.
The puppet is operated by using the thumb and index finger for the arms
and gripping the dowel with the other fingers. To extend the neck you
can either use the other hand to lift the head or you can work it so the
end of the dowel rests on the play board and by lowering the puppet the
head is pushed upwards - this technique requires a shorter dowel.
In the illustration I have shown the ghost but typically other, usually
exotic looking characters are used. The neck can be extended and lowered
to great comic effect. If you do have a hand free you can use one of
those whistles that have a sliding stopper for sound effect.
I use mine as an introductory puppet. I have it say "Can you see at the
back there?" and I stretch its neck suddenly.




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