This page focuses on experiments during the Advanced Rod Puppetry course with Matthew Isaac Cohen, at the Puppet Arts Complex at University of Connecticut, Spring 2022
Experimentation with sticks as puppets
Initial experiments into rod puppet theatre based on training exercises by Mervyn Millar, Director Significant Objects and Creative Associate for National Theatre's War Horse.
A marotte is a 16 century jester stick. One of the most basic forms of puppetry - simply a head on a stick. I am made a Pinocchio/penis shaped nosed Boris Johnson for my marotte performance about fools.
Chinese Iron Rod (Teochew) Puppetry
Teochew Chinese Iron Rod Puppetry is an ancient and, sadly, moribund form of puppetry which orginates from Chinese Opera and with few remaining puppeteers in China, Singapore and Taiwan. As part of our class presentation, working with Alyson Doyle and Nyree Pajaro, we used existing Chinese Iron Rod puppets to tell traditional Chinese story.
Final Rod Puppetry Project
Wayang Golek is an active Rod Puppetry form from the islands of Indonesia. Our class presentation task was to make a wayang golek style rod puppet, choose and Indonesian myth and music and perform it solo with multiple puppets. I chose the story of Aji Saka and Dewata Cengkar for which I used two traditional Javanese Wayang Golek puppets. I then created a third character, Jaka Ling Lung (the white snake aka stupid boy) who was sent to fight the demon, Dewata Cengkar. Jaka Ling Lung is based on the Wayang hybrid puppet idea of part human part animal.
For my final rod puppetry peice, I very quickly made a 1m tall rod puppet of Gaia - a 10 year old child so that I could realise the opening sequence of a new outdoor show I would like to make for families about climate change. Apologies for the shaky video and puppet animation issues in this video- the puppet is just a prototype - but it gives an idea of how the full show can develop.