Practice Booth

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Practice Booth

Postby Cood123 » 14 Jan 2013, 04:58

Hey everyone. This afternoon I felt ambitious and I cobbled together a booth (Sort of) out of some scraps of wood my family had lying around. It's hands above head, because I want to try it that way. I'm still pretty young so I think I can handle it with practice.
I also bought a very basic crocodile puppet, and cut a hole in its mouth so I can practice the crocodile bits, and I've come up with a few.
My friend and I are collaborating about getting a few puppets carved before I leave for England, and May Fayre.
Please tell me what you think.


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Re: Practice Booth

Postby lesclarke » 14 Jan 2013, 09:59

It should do the job, and as long as it does the job it doesn't have to look pretty!

Good luck starting with 'hands above', the human body is good at adapting, the discomfort eases as long as your practise is regular.

Even at this early stage you should add puppet bars, with hooks, and rings on your figures , (and possibly a shelf for props,) as switching from one character to another is a basic physical skill that needs to become second nature so that your performance can flow with a good pace.
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Re: Practice Booth

Postby Harvey » 14 Jan 2013, 10:51

That looks really good well done
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Re: Practice Booth

Postby Cood123 » 15 Jan 2013, 01:44

After a few trial runs with my family, I was told such things as.
"It's too high to see well." And "Punch's jumping looks very small." and other such things so I moved the play board to hands in front of face by lowering it about six inches.
"It isn't my plan to make Mr. Punch more American, but to make America more aware of Mr. Punch."
-Something I said to my brother
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Re: Practice Booth

Postby Chris » 15 Jan 2013, 11:53

If your "hands above" playboard was at the correct height (your height plus one inch) then you will surely need to drop it much more than six inches to get the full advantages of "hands in front". My "hands above" playboard is 71 inches, my "hands in front" fit-ups are around 55 inches.

As for your "Punch jumping looks very small" I'm not sure what you mean. I didn't know that Punch went in for jumping? Jumping is not a thing glove puppets do very well.

Actually whatever the height of your playboard it shouldn't make any difference to the visibility of the puppets. They should be just as visible whether "hands above" or "hands in front". Your family's comments suggest some other problem. The things that affect the visibility of the puppet are 1) seating the audience at the correct distance (they can be nearer with "hands in front". 2) keeping the puppet always bang up against the playboard (3 inches back from the playboard and you lose sight of the bottom half of the puppet) 3) The width of the playboard which should be as narrow as is practical.

Those are the "sight-line" considerations. Additionally you need to think about contrast of the puppets with the background. A painted scene is very attractive, but puppets are far more visible for a much greater distance and in greater detail against a black background.

Also the lighting of the puppet needs considering, even though you rarely have actual lights with a Punch show. I always leave the top front of my booth uncovered so that outdoors or indoors I get some top light as well as the front light which comes through the proscenium. Single-source lighting is the worst possible for all but shadow puppets. Front light alone flattens the features and makes them less visible, carving shows up much better with a mixture of top and front lighting. That is why performers who work in a spotlight (ballet dancers for example) require a very heavy make-up to compensate for the flattening effect of frontal lighting.
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