By: STO Gentry Phillips, Springtown High School, Troupe 1494
Puppets might not be the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks of theatre, but puppets have played a vital role on stage and in film for decades now. The world of puppet theatre has come a long way since 3000 years ago, and I say it’s high time Texas Thespians gave it the recognition it deserves. Let's step back in time and learn just what puppet theatre is all about!
Puppet theatre is a very impressive and time consuming form of stage art. As I said, puppetry goes back hundreds of centuries, and has branched out in many countries including but not limited to: China, Africa, Germany, Indonesia, and the United States! Each culture has brought their own unique spin on this impressive talent, and has contributed something to its history.
With all this diversity, we cannot expect every puppet to look like a Muppet. There are many types of puppets used in theatre and they all function and look drastically different from one another. For example, Taiwanese puppetry relies on the puppeteers skill of moving the puppet in complicated motion to tell the story, while in India the puppet show might be made of shadows entirely.
Puppet theatre has been used to tell many stories all throughout time. Originally it was very common to see these types of shows in churches or holy buildings to tell a story important to that culture's religion. Puppets were also used to tell stories of morality and other traditions. However as time and technology advanced, puppets were seen in many different places. During the 18th century, it was likely you would see puppets used in opera. After the Great Depression puppets started to appear widely in American television. Thus in the 1950’s the most well beloved and iconic puppets were created: The Muppets!
All types of puppetry are still used today, in blockbuster movies and on physical stages. There is so much history to the world of this art that it was hard to pick and choose what I wanted to say in this blog. I encourage you to research further if you're interested! The world of puppet theatre is simply a spectacular one!
Your 2021 Texas State Thespian Officers
Source: TheaterSeatStore Blog. 2022. History of Puppetry. [online] Available at: <https://www.theaterseatstore.com/blog/history-of-puppetry> [Accessed 16 January 2022].