Introducing My show

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Introducing My show

Postby Harvey » 10 Mar 2016, 16:05

The beginning of the year is always a quiet time of the year for me.
I have been spending January and February re branding my show (getting rid of the unprofessional look).

I was thinking about how should introduce my show.
How I usually do it is
Me: Hello
Audience: hello
Me: no lets try that again (go behind theatre then come back out again) Hello
Audience: Hello
Me: good are you all ready for the Punch and Judy Show
Audience: yes
Me: so am I (go and sit in the audience wait for about 5 seconds) who is doing the show?
Audience: you
Me: oh yeah (get back up and start the show)

A shorter start would be "Well I am going in the theatre to look for Mr Punch and Conveniently not come out for 20 minutes"

I would occasionally do Magic.
That is how I start my show so how do you start your shows?
The Young Professor http://www.professor-harvo.xbuild.com at the age of 18
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Re: Introducing My show

Postby Chris » 11 Mar 2016, 21:39

You are right in thinking that it is important to think about how you start the Punch and Judy Show. There used to be a saying in the days of Variety about planning any Act: “Get a good beginning and a good ending and the middle will take care of itself.” It is certainly true that a poor start can kill an otherwise competent show.

Technically we are talking about an audience warm-up, and its style varies with circumstances and audience. The warm up with a birthday party audience is quite different than that used for an outdoor show with a mixed family audience. Certainly this will be much less intimate. Indeed some puppeteers don’t appear but let the puppets do the warm up for them. Watch Martin Bridle use his monkey and clown and musicians get the audience involved long before Mr. Punch appears.

Some puppeteers combine a personal warm-up with a puppet warm-up. Search Youtube for “Rod Burnett” and watch his superb technique.

Another warm-up master is Prof. Jingles, Bryan Clarke. Watch him and you will clearly see how he establishes his character very strongly, and then carries it with him inside the booth. Throughout the show, however funny the puppets, you are aware of the showman’s energetic charisma in the background.

Another warm-up approach from a seasoned professional is that of Prof John Alexander. A description of this can be found at No.12 at http://www.punchandjudy.com/routines.htm
There’s lots of good stuff on that page which probably many have never seen.

But most of use find that the majority of our shows are not outdoor shows to a crowd but much more intimate affairs to young children numbering a dozen to thirty. So let us consider how to approach an opening for such shows.

Firstly you must consider what you want to achieve with your opening, and that will help you plan what to say and do. Personally I always preface my show with Magic, but if I were planning a Punch only show for birthday party age – perhaps including 3 to 8 year olds – I would probably tackle it something like this:

What do I want to achieve with my opening?
Tell them what’s going to happen, they won’t have all seen a puppet show before, and certainly they won’t all have seen a Punch show.
Reassure them that they have nothing to fear. (Stupid remarks from grown-ups such as “Be careful the crocodile doesn’t get you,” can be very worrying to a sensitive four year old.) You want to implant the idea that this is going to be funny, not scary.
Establish your own authority since you still need to be in control even though you can’t be seen when you are inside the booth.
Give them the idea that they can respond to the puppets. Audiences are different, but most will have only seen “sit down and watch” puppetry as on television or video and won’t all have experienced interactive involvement. You want to encourage the children to shout out and respond to the puppets – but in a controlled way.

Hello, my name is Harvey, and this is my puppet show. I expect some of you have seen a puppet show before? ….. Oh good. Then you probably all know about puppets and how they work? (Hold your hands up in glove puppet position)
Actually this is a special puppet show – it is called Punch and Judy. (Say this very deliberately, since many kids have heard the words but don’t know they are two separate names. They may have heard it as Punch’njudy or Punchanjulie, or even Punching Judy) …that’s right, Mr Punch and his wife Judy.
Has anyone seen a Punch and Judy Show before? Oh good, quite a few? So you’ll know its very funny.(1 and 2)

[Now all the time you are saying the above you should be looking round your audience, making eye contact here and there, nodding, smiling, acknowledging their responses, showing your interest in them. The idea you are trying to give is that you are in charge, but you have something fun and interesting to show them, and that you like them, each and every one of them. If you get the kids warming to you, wanting to co-operate with you, then this rapport will remain even when you disappear into the booth.(3)]

Now you’ll know which puppet is Mr. Punch – he’s the one with the Big Red Nose and the very squeaky voice – he’s very funny!

[I would only include this paragraph if there were a good number of under fives.] (Pretending to be answering a child at the back) Oh no, the puppets won’t come down there. They’ll only stay in their little house. You see they are only quite small – they think you are giants! But they will sit here (indicate playboard) and talk to you. Shall I get Mr Punch to talk to you? Do you want to see him? (2)

The trouble is, he’s also very lazy. He’s probably fast asleep behind there. (call) Mr Punch! (listen… no reply) I knew it! Will you all help me wake him up? I’ll count 1-2-3 and then you, altogether, shout “Wake up Mr Punch”
(audience calls – no response)

[I know this is corny and everybody does it, but that’s because it is an effective bit of business which gets the kids talking to the puppets before they have even seen them, and the idea of waking Punch gives you leeway to ad lib as you get inside the booth , fasten up the back if necessary, and get the puppets on your hands to start the show.]
(Looking expectantly at the playboard) Did you see him, is he there? He must be still asleep. Let’s try again. I’ll count 1-2-3 and then you, altogether, shout “Wake up Mr Punch”
(audience calls – no response)

[You can repeat this once more if you want – but no more than three times please.]

It’s no good, I’ll have to go round the back and see what’s happening. If he’s still asleep I tickle his toes, that should wake him up.

[You would then go into the booth, get the swazzle in place, and start a conversation with Punch while you remonstrate with him about keeping the children waiting when they have come especially to see him.]

What’s that? Yes of course they will. Boys and girls, Mr Punch says will you all say Good Afternoon when he comes up to see you?
There you are Mr Punch, I told you they will. Now get up there….

[Punch pops up squawking] “Good afternoon, good afternoon, good afternoon”
[The kids respond, and you’re off]

And here are some more warm-up ideas and approaches:
http://www.punchandjudy.com/warmups.htm
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