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Tu and the Giant Puppets

Mar 11 | Tu Pham

EXPLORATION: Tu and the Giant Puppets

This month's exploration came in the form of trying something new and completely out of the box for me, as in, I did not have any prior knowledge of puppets outside of the one or two movies I saw on TV, so I decided to jump right in.

Why giant puppets?

As a designer who ends up being on the computer way-too-much-for-way-too-long of a stretch during the day, this two week intensive workshop in visual theatre allowed me to be fully immersive and to think tactilely and meet new people from our local creative community.

Sculpting the puppet head

For two six-day weeks, at an intensive four hours a day, we had the privilage of learning from master makers and performers, Kathy and Andrew Kim from West Yorkshire, England's Thingumajig Theatre. Using found and recycled materials, I came away with a better understanding of weight and structure and how to build a fluid and movable piece of art.

Performance (Yikes!)

Did I mention that once the giant puppet (which is essentially a costume) is complete, it was time to learn performance as a puppet? What kind of art piece is it and how do you engage with the audience? These were questions that were constantly asked as we were building our creations, however, actually performing with the correct physical movement and working around line of sight issues was a whole other area of expertise that I never considered.

See Hero, aptly named in honor of all the first responders out there, at this year's Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Parade on June 23. And if you need a refresher after hours parading, I'd recommend the 2016 AlbariƱo!