Our Construction Diary
Page 64

 

 

The initial rough sketch of the latex head.

The initial rough sketch of the latex head.

Ping Pong's Puppet Workshop

 

June 16, 2002

Lawrence Adrian of the Oregon Coast Children's Theatre contracted with us to build a Jester puppet. He wanted a hand and rod puppet with a latex rubber head, the puppet to be sitting on a ball (removable, of course) and a costume capable of being painted with black-light paint.

 

 

Bill Holznagel starting to carve the Jester head

Bill Holznagel starting to carve the Jester head.

The final carving in Plasticine.

The final carving in Plasticine. The head is then cast in plaster, as if for Neoprene. The latex is poured into the plaster mold (no serious cleaning or drying necessary) and rotated around inside the head until all surfaces are covered. The excess is allowed to drain out. A second coat is applied in a similar manner after the first coat dries for a day.

Shannan Knight sewing up the body.

Shannan Knight sewing up the body. It is made of muslin, over a PVC pipe structure which allows the puppet to slide down onto the ball, while being quickly removable (1" Schedule 200 PVC pipe will slide over Schedule 40 3/4" pipe and 3/4" will slide over 1/2"). Stuffing in the body included sewable foam, bubble wrap and poly fluff.
The total puppet weight is a critical factor, since the whole weight of the puppet is held up by the puppeteer's wrist.

Coming along

If you look closely, you can see the eyelets on each shoulder to which the arms attach. The eyelets are screwed into the PVC endcaps which form part of the torso.
A canvas strap, sewn to the top of the torso, passes up through the latex neck, creating an adjustable loop to slide over the puppeteer's wrist to hold the puppet up.
The hand is then free to manipulate the head from the inside. The latex neck was later sewn to the torso.

The Ball

The ball is 12"styrofoam It was cut in half, with the 1/2" PVC placed inside carved grooves as shown. A stub of PVC also extends down inside the ball and doesn't come out. This was to prevent the pipe from twisting inside the ball.
The ball was then glued together and taped on the seam, then covered with one layer of cloth mache and then the outer fabric as shown. The PVC coming out of the left side of the ball is only temporarily in the stand.
The puppet will only have the straight stub which will go into a parade belt worn by the puppeteer, to hold the ball and the puppet.

The costuming begins.

The costuming begins. Several parts of the production are done under black light, and the costume will be painted in clear black-light paint to show up in those scenes.

Steve with his latest creation

Steve Overton with his latest creation.

 

The Finished Jester

The finished puppet. For a larger view of this picture, suitable for printing, click here.

 

 

The proud parents

The proud parents: Lawrence Adrian, Dina Britton and Laurie Sullivan of the Oregon Coast Childrens Theatre.
The Jester will be featured in their new production Carnivale which will be premiering in the near future.

The puppet on the puppeteer's lap.

Here you can see the approximate position of the puppet on the puppeteer's lap.

For more information on the Oregon Coast Childrens Theatre and its productions, call (541) 994-3093
or e-mail: occt@tillanet.com.

The Jester at a carnival

Here we see the Jester at a carnival.
The figure to the right is the puppeteer.

Carmen Miranda

This is Carmen Miranda, one of the other puppets built by the OCCT to accompany the Jester in the Carnivale production.

Jester Face 1

Jester Face 2

Jester Face 3

Jester Face 4

Jester Face 5

Jester Face 6

Above you can see the range of expression available from a latex head
worked with a hand inside

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All text and photos © 2002, Olde World Puppet Theatre

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