A Doctor

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A Doctor

Postby CvdC » 04 Jan 2010, 22:28

I have just completed a Doctor puppet.
I like performing this routine myself. It seems to provide a nice balance between action and verbal humour.
I have been reading Michael Byrom's "Punch in the Italian Puppet Theatre" (ISBN 0 90000 120 8) in which he discusses this character (Chapter 4). Basically Doctor Balanzone is renowned for taking the most trivial fact and providing the longest possible explanation, with lots of Latin to show how well educated he is, and arriving at some absurd conclusion. This long winded dissertation is in the tradition of the Commedia dell'Arte called a tiraté.
I have seen this sort of humour on Italian television and in films so I gather the tradition still continues in Italian comedy. In that language it is quite something to listen to, but hard to follow when reading sub titles.
The nearest English equivalent may be the character of Sir Humphrey in the "Yes Minister." series. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_minister)
In the American sitcom "Cheers" he appears as the character Frazier Crane.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheers)

I can think of few other performers who would also do this character justice. While writing this I have a a sneaking suspicion they do - I'll have to go through the video archive.
Here are two examples:


I make the character with a long nose for him to look down so that he appears arrogant and conceited. Also he is dressed with some vanity, wearing a flashy waistcoat and a gold watch chain, his hair the result of a little too long at the mirror.
In the John Payne Collier script there is a line:
"Have you had an accident, or are you only taking a nap on the grass after dinner?" I imagine the Doctor giving a little chuckle at his own wit after making such a lame joke. Much like a Judge would expect grovelling barristers to laugh at his attempts at levity in a court room. It should be remembered that the doctor character is not just a physician but represents all professions that may be subject to the hubris of learned conceit.

It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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