Monday, 12 October 2009

puppet surgery

Spurred on by the workshop last week and my promise to myself that Skipton Puppet Fest would be a catalyst for action, I had Moonboy sanded and ready for surgery at the weekend.

By surgery I mean drilling. He was going to be strung. A friend of mine urged me to get him up and moving to prevent paralysis (on my part).

I bought the smallest drill bit I could find for him. The size of a needle. And screwed in the hooks on the frame for the strings, as I did so working out exactly where I wanted the strings to attach to his body. All going well so far and comfortably on the living room floor.

Then it was time for the drilling. I carried him downstairs to the workmate and laid him out. He looked so trusting and little melancholy (his usual expression, but perhaps more vivid than I had become used to). I couldn't drill into his head I realised.

I had to carefully twist the metal eyes behind his ears to tie the stings to. Not too painful. No screams from either of us and the finished effect was almost David Essex.

Next were his thighs. Being the size he is, he has rather lovely meaty quads - too big for the delicate bit I'd bought, so I was going to have to drill into his knee joint or rather behind it so making use of the narrowing wood. Soft muscle, I told myself. As if through butter.

It was the hands that were truly awful. All my latent Christainity came welling up. What on earth was I doing? Stigmata? Crucifiction? Zerrupp zerrup, and both hands drilled. He didn't flinch. I did. Some time ago I saw this fabulous show by Pickled Image - Houdini's Suitcase - that revolved around a circus show. One of the puppets - obviously a foam puppet - had to stick pins into his face. It was appalling to watch. I was reenacting this scene

But more to the point, I had embued him with his soul. I was treating him with the care he deserved, calling him love, and sweetheart. Stroking between the drilling.

So it was a joy to string him and have him dancing in the kitchen, swinging from a cupboard handle.

I haven't stuck his pearl eyes in place, but know how he's going to see. I also know he's to wear a navy felt blazer. This will give him a nice boxy definition, I think.

And what's more exciting is that I suddenly realised I could take him along to my next play session with improvisers Steve Lewis and Beth Allen and see what we come up with for him.


jenny said...

I cant wait to see him move!
I really loved the knees on the man in "Fish clay perspex" the other day, also spurred me on to make my bird ladies move somehow.
good luck with surgery xx jenny

Elizabeth M Rimmer said...

I know how you feel! In the Saga Centre in Reykjavik they have photos of the wax models under construction, and the one where they are putting eyelashes in looks terrifying!