Our Construction Diary
Page 66



Ping Pong's Puppet Workshop


August 25, 2002 (page 1 of 2)

The Sherwood, Oregon Robin Hood Festival people contacted us late last year to build a puppet show featuring the adventures of Robin Hood. It was presented at this year's Robin Hood Festival, featuring members of St. Wolfgang's Bavarian Guild.

It had to be big, easy to set up and sturdy in construction.

On this and the next page, we are going to cover the construction of the show.

A Finished set panel from the show

The show consists of 4' tall articulated rod puppets which "come to life" out of four 8' tall "stained glass windows". There are four windows and nine puppets. (yes, we know the math doesn't work -- one puppet lives back stage). Above we see the panel holding Robin Hood and Maid Marion. The puppets hang from hooks on the front of the panels.


Planning the Project

To get started on the project, the material had to be decided upon. We chose a corrugated plastic which comes in several colors like those shown here. This is the same material used for lightweight signs and USPS mail buckets.

The Scale Model

We first built a scale model of a panel to give us a feeling for the size of everything.

The Drawings

Drawings were made of all the characters, and then they were redrawn with the movable pieces separated from the body. They were then scanned into Marty's computer and printed out on clear transparencies.

Drawing the pieces

We could then size the drawings (using an overhead projector) and trace the pieces onto the colored plastic or clear plastic. (Every puppet part has a clear background piece for strength).

The rear of a finished set panel

Here we are looking at the back of one of the four background panels. They have a copper pipe base with six foot copper risers onto which the PVC pipe frames drop.
The panels are in two pieces to aid in storage and transportation. (Don't want to have to rent a truck, thank you -- it all fits in a minivan) The holes top and bottom are to let the wind blow through -- since it is performed outside. Sand bags are also placed on the copper base to help with stability.

The front of a set panel

Here's the front of the top half one of the background panels. The black and colored pieces have been glued to their clear background panel as seen above. (This panel section alone has about 125 individual pieces all glued together. Let's do the math -- 4 panels x 2 pieces x 125 = 1000). The spaces between the colors are filled with gray caulking to simulate the leading of a stained glass window.


Cutting the pieces

The pieces, many hundreds of them, are cut out to the exact size needed.


Gluing the pieces

Here's the messy (and smelly) part. The pieces have to be glued together using contact cement -- and no, the "safe" kind doesn't work. So, open the doors, get out the fans, and put on the masks.

Pieces start to accumulate

Here some assembled parts start to accumulate. The blue pieces are parts of Maid Marion.


Sir Guy of Gisbourne - started

Here's Sir Guy of Gisbourne with the beginnings of the painted outline on it.


The painting moves into full gear.

The painting moves into full gear.


Here he is with the painting completed.

Here he is with the painting completed.


On the next page we'll finish the construction...

To contact Ping Pong or the Museum Staff Click Here

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All text and photos © 2002, Olde World Puppet Theatre

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