I have no idea how. Nor why. I’ve stood on stages, islands, dusty plazas, windy playgrounds, and under a guarded, pink and purple striped tent (in Pakistan) to bring puppets to life, but never in water.
Over the next few weeks, I will create a book dummy, as well as a puppet theater production, of my new story “Eeep Goes Home”. I will post progress on the puppet theater production as it happens. I aim to keep building shows to be more and more portable, and this one’s set is to be a giant pop up book, inspired greatly by wonderful puppeteer, and friend, Monica Leo, from Eulenspiegel Puppets, in West Liberty, Iowa. I’m actually waiting for a book I ordered to arrive: Pop-Up Design and Paper Mechanics: How to Make Folding Paper Sculpture by Duncan Birmingham – to save some time and avoid re-inventing the wheel. So, I don’t follow one particular tradition, but love to be inspired by and learn from many sources.
However, I am awed by the traditions world wide that have remained unchanged for centuries and longer, through dedicated apprenticeships and training.
So, about operating a puppet while standing in water, it is amazing to wonder who, in Vietnam, came up with this idea very long ago, and who had the vision to lead this idea to become a highly refined tradition.
Maybe you can figure it out from this video: Vietnamese Water Puppets.
While you’re watching, please excuse me as I get back to the studio.