Making a booth

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Re: Making a booth

Postby Chris » 22 Oct 2013, 12:15

Two man puppet booths are built very much the same way as a one man booth, only wider. There are designs for larger puppet fit-ups in many of the puppet books. Two or more puppeteers do of course open up opportunities not available to the solo performer - but please, not for Punch & Judy. You don't have to be an ardent traditionilist to think a violin concerto best played on a violin rather than the drums. The whole nature of the Punch show developed in the booth it did, in the characters, in the story outline, in its basic routines because it was a one man show. That is what a Punch show is.

But to answer your question, yes it has been tried on more than one occasion, sometimes with a female voice for Judy. Their quality as puppet shows varied, but they ceased to be Punch shows.

Obratzov blamed his failure in attempting to perform Petroushka on his own lack of true feeling and understanding of the traditional show. His manipulation was brilliant but the show lacked sincerity. I've often said that you can't perform Punch & Judy properly until you have realised that it is different to any other form of puppetry. Generally good puppeteers don't necessarilly make good Punchmen. There are notable exceptions, Geoff Felix and Martin Bridle spring to mind and there are others, but usually the best Punch performers are specialists. I see Punch, rather like ventriloquism, not as puppetry but as an allied art.

Of course there is no reason at all why you can't take the Punch and Judy story and characters and do what you will with them. You can use them to teach Road Safety, you can feature them in a poem or a song, you can make them the subject of an opera, or a painting, or a children's book. You can do any or all of these things, but you won't be doing a Punch and Judy show.

If you do fancy a large booth and more than one puppeteer it might be fun to look at the French Polichinelle tradition. There are many similarities to Punch but the plays are written to take advantage of more than one operator. There are a wealth of scripts available.
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Re: Making a booth

Postby cobaltblue » 23 Oct 2013, 15:50

Thanks for your comments on the booth.
It’s not that I want one but was interested in why it isn’t successful, and wondered if it was the fact that it was for economic terms .It obviously must be easier to make a living or even an interest in punch if done solo. I will try to follow your suggestion up regarding the French connection.
I am amazed at this sites, wealth of information, with always someone willing to give advice. It’s a pity other sites can’t follow the site example. The skills involved in the making of the character and some of the costumes are pretty amazing.
My main interest is in the carving and tend to fall down on the costume side, also the personality that the performers inject into punch very good. Both from a performance view and historical interest.
Real dedication
one more thing , i am interested in the history of punch perhaps you can recomend a good book.
Has punch anything to do with a court jester
Many thanks for your comments
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Re: Making a booth

Postby Chris » 23 Oct 2013, 16:42

You can find most answers to your questions on this site. A good place to start is "Any Questions?" section. Regarding the history you will find:
http://www.punchandjudy.com/help/qa2-1.htm

Concerning the Jester, no, there is no real connection with Punch other than they both employ comedy and are granted extra licence. It is harder to take offence at one dismissed as a fool or the other a wooden puppet.
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