There is nothing expected or predictable about the way Festive Factory approaches puppetry and puppet theater. From giant insects, to combining other skills and taking puppetry to the streets, Festive Factory inadvertently continues to push puppet boundaries. Puppetry is highly accessable to the public in more ways than one.
What ‘we’ do.
What we generally do not do:
Not to say that we can’t do any of the above… just that without a commission in place, the above ‘dos’ and ‘donts’ set out our common practice.
Our puppets are adaptations and evolutions from traditional styles of puppetry.
For example, as previously mentioned in the puppetry webblog parts 1 and 2, we have taken the concept of the string puppet and extended the boundaries.
Whilst Festive Factory has indeed also done some of the above, there are always specific variations that set them apart.
Such an example includes the ‘Dream type’ story of ‘Gosper’ the nature spirit and ‘Clover’ the Giant Praying Mantis. This show departed from the ‘norm’ in the following ways:
The size of the giant praying mantis required its operation to be from a height of 6 feet and it be hand carved of lightweight timber in this case, cedar. The nature of this work required that it be performed from a lightweight movable platform. Audience participation was incorporated as the smaller ‘baby’ praying mantis was taken out to the audience, climbing over the viewers. Later, the audience were invited into the performance space to shake hands with the larger puppet.
Other skills were included in the show such as contact ball manipulation, a form of ball juggling where the balls never leave contact with the hands, sleight of hand, and live music and the puppeteer working concurrently as actor directly interacting with their puppet.
Another show that is still regularly performed is the ‘Rock and Roses’ on tour. This is a scaled down ‘Rock and Roll’ show.
Points of difference from the norm but consistent with Festive Factory practice include:
This is all quite avant guard when considered in context of standard practices especially throughout Europe even as late as 10 years ago.
Next week the final article on our series of puppetry as we search Festive Factory for other standard or non standard practices that push puppetry boundaries.