Letting the public handle Punch

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Letting the public handle Punch

Postby Trevek » 11 May 2013, 11:51

I played a couple of shows at a local primary, this week.

At the end of the show, I sometimes come out with Punch sitting on my arm, as a 'live character' (I don't wave him around 'dead' in-front of my audiences).

I asked the children if they had any questions about the show. On this occasion, one little girl asked if she could hold Mr Punch (by this time, I'd 'put him to bed') in the booth.

Normally, if a child is interested in the puppets themselves and puppetry, I'll show them a bit of the booth and maybe let them have a go with the puppets, as I don't want to discourage them by saying 'no', and I feel it might stimulate their interest to find out more themselves.

On this occasion, I said that it wasn't possible, as Mr Punch was tired. The reality was, I'd have probably had the 50 or so kids all screaming to have a go with Punch or the Croc.. and Punch was soaking wet, after 2 shows. I promised her "next time" and then the teachers took the kids away.

I felt a little awkward saying no, to be honest.

What are the views of others about showing and handling the puppets after a show?
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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby Chris » 13 May 2013, 17:22

Wonderful idea that, spend all that effort creating an illusion, then destroy it!
Leave the puppets in the booth.
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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby Trevek » 13 May 2013, 19:32

Thanks for your thoughts, Chris.

When Punch (or any other puppet) comes out to meet the audience he is always 'alive'.

I don't generally wave dead puppets about in-front of kids (as I've seen that some other people do). That the kids are shaking hands with the puppets and speaking to it suggests they are perhaps not as quick to feel the illusion is broken.
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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby Chris » 13 May 2013, 22:24

The illusion is broken the moment you bring him out of the booth. Punch is not a meet and greet puppet.
Get yourself a cute cuddly monkey.
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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby Professor Eek » 14 May 2013, 15:45

I have let children (and adults) have a look in the booth between shows but strongly discourage 'touching' of the puppets and props etc. A glimpse of the 'magic' might be enough to get someone interested for life in puppetry and P&J but more than that and it might take away the 'magic' - as they are just lumps of wood and cloth.

I often finish the show, if there's been a lot of smaller children, by bringing out the baby to show that it wasn't really turned into suasages (as happens in my show).

I conceal my water squirter in the hand I'm holding the baby in.

I explain that baby is ok really and wasn't really hurt but I've had to bring baby out as it needs to go for a 'wee wee' - at which point I squirt the kids who react as any child would when pee'd upon.

It's a very nice ending which works for me and gets kids and adults laughing as they are moving off.
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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby Trevek » 14 May 2013, 19:03

Thank you, Eek.
It sounds fun.

I don't let kids inside the booth as a rule or touch the props, as I might never see them again (learned that in Glasgow!). I did once take the whole show into my English class and did a show for the kids and then got them to write and perform their own show. One 11 year old girl got very attached to one puppet, cradling it and hugging it... the worrying thing was that it was Jack Ketch!
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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby Chris » 14 May 2013, 20:36

at which point I squirt the kids who react as any child would when pee'd upon.
It's a very nice ending which works for me

Whatever turns you on Eek.
I do believe there are websites devoted to watersports.
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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby BookEmDanno » 14 May 2013, 22:33

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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby Chris » 14 May 2013, 23:33

Oh, I think we can make an exception once in 350 years, or even once in 60 years. Also I doubt if we are spoiling any illusions for the Queen.
By the way, I'm looking forward to seeing Mark in the honours list.
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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby BookEmDanno » 15 May 2013, 07:35

I'm far from sure an animated puppet outside the booth does spoil the illusion.

I began to think that Mr Punch is perhaps the best candidate for coming outside (other than the hangman) because he has legs and is the star.

I then began to think of an analogy with ventriloquial figures. Some famous figures, although perhaps bigger than a large Punch puppet were small. Saveen's Daisy May comes to mind. Then I moved on to Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop and the leg theory fell apart a bit.

I would hesitate to suggest profs carrying puppets (including me for the first time) at the May Fayre Grand Parade were shattering illusions all over the place.
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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby Chris » 15 May 2013, 19:01

Not the same thing at all. Trev was talking about bringing Punch outside the booth after a show. This is one of the characters the kids have just been watching and which, if the performer is any good, will be vividly alive in the kids' minds. Punch has been shrieking and squarking etc. So you bring him out to shake hands with the kids. Suddenly he is mute? Or do you try to swazzle in full view and cover the kids in spittle?
With puppets in a parade you haven't just spent the previous half hour persuading the kids of their life and sharing their antics.
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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby Trevek » 15 May 2013, 20:27

Chris wrote:Punch has been shrieking and squarking etc. So you bring him out to shake hands with the kids. Suddenly he is mute? Or do you try to swazzle in full view and cover the kids in spittle?


That is an interesting point. Thank you.
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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby Professor Eek » 22 May 2013, 13:50

You may have to send me your links to those websites Chris - all I can find is waterskiers and surfers
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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby Chris » 22 May 2013, 18:01

You've lost me Eek. What links are you on about? Are you perhaps responding to another posting by mistake?
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Re: Letting the public handle Punch

Postby Trevek » 22 May 2013, 22:08

I think he's on about watersports, Chris.
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