There are 23 different kinds of puppet shows that take place across the world. However, they are classified under eight broad heads which are more than enough to understand how the puppet shows differ. Let’s quickly see what the eight heads are and how they function.
Glove puppet is also known as a hand puppet. In hand puppets, the figure or the doll doesn’t have a movable mouth. The three fingers of the puppeteer become the neck and the other two as its arms. This gives life to the puppet and doll starts enacting. This is how it works in the glove or the hand puppet show. The widely known hand puppets are The Shari Lewis Show and Hush Puppy.
Here the puppet show figures are connected to a rod, while the rod is held by the puppeteer. The rod puppets usually function with the same expression because the rods are connected only to their arms. However, in some professional shows, experienced puppeteers handle multiple wires. These strings are attached to every part of the puppet so that the puppeteer can micro manage things. Widespread examples of the rod puppets are ‘The Muppets’ and ‘The Sesame Street.’
The puppets are made traditionally made out of animal hides. They are then painted and punched with decorative designs to suit the play. To create colors in the puppet’s projected shadow colored acetates are used by the puppeteers. A puppeteer moves the puppet in and out of the light, so its shadow grows and shrinks. The popular shadow puppet shows take place in the Wayang Thailand Puppet Theater.
Hand and Rod Puppet:
Jim Henson developed the hand and rod puppet show. The dominating hand of the puppeteer controls the head and the facial expressions, while the other hand operates the arms through the arm rod. Therefore this combines both the hand and the rod techniques and gets the name hand-rod puppet.
Marionette is also known as String Puppet. It is one of the toughest forms of puppetry. The marionettes hang on the strings and the puppeteer has to manipulate it effectively. As far as puppetry is concerned, your act goes flawless depending on how swift and how creative you are. A good performer learns how to use the gravity of the floor in his favor and pull strings accordingly.
This type of puppetry demands a lot of training and hard work. Not all can master the art of ventriloquism. You know there has to be a doll in this event, but you are not supposed to call it dummy. It is known as a vent figure, and the performer is called the ventriloquist. The concept is quite simple, the figure and the performer try to communicate with the audience. The performer speaks for him and the vent figure. The crux lies in finding how he communicates on behalf of the doll when his mouth is absolutely shut. Remember, it needs a lot of practice. Paul Winchell is the best of them all.
Stop motion is a technique where the object is capable of making movements, and the best part is that the puppet looks like it is moving all by itself without the help of an external hand or simply say a puppeteer. It is an ancient technique. However, it is loved and viewed by people even today. Artists prefer to be called as animators than puppeteers.