Punch and Dickens

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Punch and Dickens

Postby Trevek » 22 Apr 2013, 12:37

On the 12 of April I was invited to perform a Punch and Judy show for a conference on Charles Dickens, held in the local university.

I'd previously been talking with the organisers, following a production of "A Christmas Carol" which I'd done with some of the teachers and students of the school where I work. The organisers were interested in staging the play, but felt the programme was too full. I mentioned I was a Punch performer and CD had been a big fan of Punch. I also suggested that many of the conference participants may never have seen a Punch and Judy show, so it might be of interest to them. Thus waggled in, I was invited to perform.

Backed up with some tidbits of information kindly supplied by Mr Geoff Felix, I prepared a short talk about the history of the show and mentioned things like Mayhew, Old Curiosity Shop etc. I also explained that my show was more in keeping with a 20th Century show, than one from Dickens' time, but they might be able to get some idea of what it involved.

Being decidedly un-Victorian, I started with a warm-up i use with kids (and adults), where everyone has to put their hands out and wave them, creating magic to wake the puppets. To my amazement and pleasure, everyone did it. The show went well, despite me accidentally spitting my swazzle out for the first time I can remember! Afterwards, a number of the participants said how much they'd enjoyed it. One young lady came up to me and said, "You know what was the best bit? Seeing all those eminent professors from around the world waving their hands around at the beginning!"

On particularly eminent professor, who has written a lot about Dickens (and preceeded my show with a paper on Dickens and Opera, even commented that he hoped to write a book about Dickens and Punch. As luck would have it, I had some books and references to hand... including this website, of course.

A couple of pics here, taken after the show: http://www.uwm.edu.pl/anglistyka/galler ... eksje.html
(please note, I did not suggest the term "puppet master" which one of the photos has, I never refer to myself as a master of anything... except, perhaps, misfortune and mayhem.)

Thanks again to Mr Geoff Felix for the useful historical information and references.
Big Banger
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