2019/04/17

I'm in Windsor Nova Scotia for Animotion Intensive training at Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. I was fortunate enough to win the scholarship from UNIMA Canada to pay the course fees. Today is Day 3.

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So, the day starts the same again. We assemble on Jim's childhood carpet, stretch out our bodies that are feeling the burn of puppeteering. We whine about how mentally tired we are and it's only day 3. We wonder how it will feel by the end of the third week.

We play the beanbag throwing focus game and add more layers to it. We begin to enforce the notion of “letting things go” and “having backups”.

We strengthen our fingers and inner wrist muscles with the large bean bag on a dowel. At this point we can control where to move it through space, pass it between each other and sing songs while walking with it. Who would have guessed that was a thing to be accomplished on day 3.

Next came the frustration. We have all been learning to juggle for three days now. I am no closer than I was on day 1. Today, Jim instructed us to juggle in pairs. This was not a successful task for me. I have added a photo below of what it's supposed to look like for reference.

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. Animotion 2019

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. Animotion 2019

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. Animotion 2019

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. Animotion 2019

Our main puppet focus today was on floor puppets. They operate in much the same way as table puppets. A ball with a handle and a nose which is then draped in fabric. The floor puppets are approximately 3/4 of the length of a normal person. They have no formed arms, but holes cut in the fabric for the hands to go through.

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. Animotion 2019.

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. Animotion 2019.

Floor puppets need two operators. One controlling the head and one arm, and another controlling the other arm. The puppeteers must work in unison. They must match motion, breath and focus to create a living character.

I found this more difficult than the other two puppets. The lack of arms and draped fabric made it hard for me to create a body structure. I spent most of my time as an arm today, pulling the fabric to fake waists.

Garbage Puppet Challenge. Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. Animotion 2019

Garbage Puppet Challenge. Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. Animotion 2019

The rest of the evening was spent finishing up our garbage puppets. I got my dragon painted. He is currently drying in the education room at the studio. Apparently, its tradition for Jim to guess who made which puppets. I don’t think he's expecting the things the class made.

-Laura-Beth Bird