Today at The Toronto School of Puppetry I taught stuffed animal animation, where students used ordinary, friendly, good old fashioned stuffies to practice some of the many aspects of live, hands-on puppetry.
Store bought stuffed toys are actually perfect for this type of learning. They're already made, they're inexpensive and easy to find, and most of them tend to have "personalities" already built right into them.
For pure puppet performance techniques, we learned how to reduce the expressions in our own faces and bodies so we could begin to speak and think and emote through our hands. We learned breath, language of the head, focus, gravity, team puppetry, voice, the importance of the stop, and the time-tested "take" that really connects a puppet to its audience and creates the empathy that we so desperately crave.
Special shout out to my trusted colleagues Ingrid Hansen and Adam Proulx for their input and support all day. I do believe that a fun time was had by all!
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