some of the amazing creations from the Skylark Theatre days
and Shelley were in full swing. It was the most
successful puppet company in the ACT
and produced regular main stage
productions and smaller shows for schools
every year for ten years.
The Power of Puppets
the power to transform peoples lives having universal
appeal for young and old.
Puppets awaken the child within, spark the
imagination and make people laugh enhancing their well being.
been puppeteer for the past 25 years performing around Australia and
Fabian, my husband and
fellow puppeteer, have a few stories to tell
about some of the events we experienced on the road.
One show we
performed called The Mysterious Egg was about adoption. The
power of this little story was
incredible especially when it turned out
that the baby egg was a Kookaburra (the natural enemy of the frog)
‘Fifi la frog’ wasn’t fazed by it. She loved that
baby no matter what and knew that
love could overcome anything.
Parent Association was delighted with this message of
unconditional love. But it wasn’t
always easy as I remember when
a little child interrupted the show saying ‘No, no you cant have
it is not your baby’ and kept screaming ‘no, no,
no.’ The only way to shut him up was to send out Sunny the
Rainbow Creature, so sweet and gentle but this time from
of his lungs Sunny said
‘If Fifi does not take care of it right
now this baby will die!’ And that was the end of it!
our shows with different messages. Puppets always break
through the barriers and open
the doors to healing. I remember the
faces of children and teachers, so excited and the long discussions
the end of the shows discussing issues they were faced with; the
loss of a parent; the guilt they
carry with them; divorce; abandonment;
lack of love; alcoholism and pier pressure.
Let me tell
you about the little blind girl. One day before we
performed ‘Tiny Pod and Silver Wings’,
a story about peer
pressure, a teacher came back stage with a little blind girl to have a
feel of some
of the puppets so she could picture the story better.
time after the show the little blind girl had her hand up,
really wanting to say something ...
her very favourite part was when
Tiny Pod revealed his inner beauty. She had felt that powerful
and in her imagination she saw the most beautiful transformation.
wonder whether we have created monsters. I was sorting out
old videos yesterday
and I came across an interview of Templeton the
Rat! Oh what a rat ... lean and mean ... so honest
and blunt, witty and
funny, full of wisdom and ego but still lovable. There he was on the
7.00 o’clock news
in Canberra making the Minister for the Arts
blush, pulling a few strings here and there and finishing him
this question “Do you know that only Gods and puppeteers give
It was very funny to see a politician without words.
wonderful to see how puppets take on a life of their own. It is
an incredible moment when the
puppets say something right out of the
blue that is not part of the script leaving your mouth open, speechless
or cracking up laughing. I experienced that a lot with Fabian’s
puppets. That is the pepper and salt into our
performances. Even show
after show there is no way that we could go on automatic.
As a creator
I think that puppets, like us, are a creative expression
of love. In the audience when
people watch the show each person will
respond differently to a puppet. Some will love it and applaud it,
will boo it because it triggers uncomfortable feelings. Maybe it is the
same with us. We have to recognise
that we are the perfect creation for
our purpose and just BE what we are created for, no matter what,
whether we are booed or applauded!
the most honest audience, they never pretend. We know the
impact and the power of stories,
images and visual theatre. More and
more we realise that spirit must be expressed
through theatre and the