using a cranky for a backdrop

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using a cranky for a backdrop

Postby MASKHUNT » 27 Feb 2007, 16:22

Hello,
i am trying to make a cranky or scrolling picture backdrop for my booth. I started out making a shoebox one to understand the principles but making something a bit bigger (width of playing area in overhead style fit up) is a bit beyond me...
any suggestions? any building plans?
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Postby James » 27 Feb 2007, 16:39

FAN-DABI_DOZI

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Postby Chris » 27 Feb 2007, 17:26

Sorry James, the significance evades me. What are the Krankies doing on a Punch website?
Correction - having looked at the original posting I see that it's just James being James. How's your Spanish?
Last edited by Chris on 27 Feb 2007, 17:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby James » 27 Feb 2007, 17:31

Have a look at the title of the original post...
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Postby Chris » 27 Feb 2007, 18:04

A scrolling panoramic backdrop is not something normally associated with Punch and Judy. In fact scenery is not of any real importance in this highly specialised form of puppetry. It is true that some performers do contrive changes of scene - but this is often because they have learned their Punch from picture books.
But scenery can be effectively used if it adds to the fun. Guy Higgins, for example, used a prison scene most effectively, and other Profs get a bit of action out of a swing-on wing piece with a practical window. But in the Punch show it is the puppets (and hand props - slapstick, gallows, coffin, pall, sausages, sausage machine, boxing ring ropes etc.) which really matter.
The type of scenery you mention is more a toy theatre technique, or for a shoe-box diorama. While it could be used in enlarged form (and certainly has been) for either glove puppets or marionettes I don't really see it enhancing a Punch show - although Richard Coombs may prove me wrong!
You might find it illustrated in the Batchelder book "The Puppet Theatre Handbook" (USA published - late 1940's).<p>
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Postby CvdC » 27 Feb 2007, 23:33

one approach

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Postby Chris » 28 Feb 2007, 00:54

Pretty pictures Chris, but the opposite to the type of scenery the lady is wanting I think. She's after the type on a roll which is scrolled across the stage onto another roll. These can be either side to side or, less usually, top to bottom.

If you must have scenery then the way you suggest with backdrops is more usual, and certainly more practical. But the whole point is that your audience can't see it so its only for your own amusement. Anything further than about 6 inches from the playboard rapidly disappears because of sight lines.

Lots of the shows at the May Fayre will have beautifully painted cloths, usually of mediaeval street scenes. Sit with the kids and look up - what do you see? If its hands in front of face you'll only see the top two thirds of the cloth. If its hands above head (with the cloth at back of booth) you'll see the rooftops of the houses.
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Postby James » 28 Feb 2007, 01:04

Me va muy bien, gracias. Y tu?
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Postby MASKHUNT » 28 Feb 2007, 17:38

Thanks Chris and James for your comments and help.
I agree about sight lines. However I am determined to learn more about crankies even though I am now persuaded not to use this device for my Punch show. Will check out the book mentioned.
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Postby Richard Coombs » 05 Mar 2007, 21:46

You are right Chris ..and I personaly enjoy watching Punch shows played against just black.

It has been said on here before ( again it might be you ) that we paint scenery for ourselves rather than the audience .

I like Geoffs streetscene though ..and he admits he has darkened it down from how he first painted it ( using layers of Umber Wash I think?) to help the puppets to stand out against it.
Brain Clarkes' monochrome scene of run-down Victorain Slums works well too.

I guess its just another area , where if you make your own kit , you can put your own personality onto the Show - like the Proscenium and Puppets .


So many performers use Brians Puppets , that sometimes its hard to tell from a photograph whos show you are looking at ...but Brians Backloth always lets you know its actually him .

When it came to painting my own , I did at least realise about the sightlines . My Streetscene has lots of empty pavement in the bottom third , to put the buidings unnaturaly high up , where from a childs eye veiw , they can still be seen.

Even so I am toying with the idea of trying out plain Blacks ...descisions descisions !.........
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