Back in February I had the opportunity to go to the puppetry workshop presented by Circus Minimus. Shari and Chris, who make up Circus Minimus showed us examples of various types of puppets including glove puppets, stick puppets, sock puppets, shadow puppets and open-mouth puppets. We discussed the strengths and limitations of all these and got to practice with our own open-mouth puppets.
They also demonstrated how, with only hands as puppets and a lot of imagination, a concept such as "spring" can be conveyed. As groups we practiced creating city streets, a seashore and a farm using only our hands and imaginations.
After that, we all got a chance to work with a stick puppet. We did some exercises to "bring the puppet to life" like finding the ground and posture for the puppet, finding its focus or gaze, giving it breath, showing gestures, giving it action and finding its voice.
The second half of the class was devoted to story boarding. Chris and Shari used Little Bo Peep as the basis of the story. They created images for the beginning, middle and end. Then we discussed various ways the characters could have gotten from one point to the next. These became other images that told the story. Again in groups, we story boarded our own fairytales, showing how the characters worked through plot points. This part of the workshop really demonstrated how important it is be creative and to have a well planned out story for the puppets to really come alive.