Friday, June 28, 2013

Monster Mondays are Moving In

Summer 2013 Adult Class

By: Joanna McDonough, Deitch Leadership Intern 

We have all heard it, that familiar falsetto voice that can usually be heard talking to a pet goldfish, or a man named Mr. Noodles, or Mr. Noodle's brother, coincidentally also named Mr. Noodles. Some of us were even lucky enough to take part in many giggles with this furry red friend in childhood, when he exclaimed "That tickles!" every time he was hugged. Yes, I am talking about Elmo my favorite Muppet character from Sesame Street and yes, my Tickle Me Elmo still has batteries in it.

Hello! My name is Joanna. I am 18 years old and an intern at the Puppet Showplace Theatre in Brookline, and I am proud to say that like many of you, I love Elmo. Interestingly enough however, until today I did not know anything about the mechanics behind the puppet that resides on Sesame Street.

It is sad to think that despite my knowledge of every song composed by him, I had no idea who the puppeteers who made Elmo come alive were, or who even created the character. As it turns out, the character was created in the 1970s and first performed by Caroll Spinney and Jerry Nelson then later by Kevin Clash. These puppeteers were responsible for Elmo's portrayal, providing his audience with the lifelike movements of the puppet's arms and legs.

How do they do it, you ask?

The techniques used by artists and performers such as Kevin Clash to create believable puppet characters may seem out of reach to master, but there is good news for aspiring performers and Muppet fans alike.

The Puppet Showplace Theatre is bringing back a class due to popular demand called Furry Monsters 101 which will be starting up in July.


'Furry Monsters 101' spring class 2012 show off Little Creature monsters

 What happens in the class?   

The class, taught by Jonathan Little of Little's Creatures, will focus on the proper manipulation of Muppet-style hand and rod puppets featured on Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Avenue Q. Jonathan will teach the class how to make these puppet characters appear as living, breathing beings with their own thoughts, desires, and motivations; some of the basics he will include are breathing, lip-synch, focus, and body positioning.

The sessions for Furry Monsters 101 run July 15 - Aug 5 on Monday nights from 6:30 to 9:00 pm. The registration price by July 1st is $150 and after July 1st it will be  $175.
And don't forget PST members save 10% on registration! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Even though it is only my third day here at the Puppet Showplace Theatre, I can already tell that the programs this organization has planned for the summer will be great ways to beat the heat and enjoy the arts, for both children and adults. I hope to see you this summer in the theatre!

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