Tuesday, May 17, 2011
by Ned Wazowski
The power of puppets
Whether they’ve got no strings or not, puppets continue to wrap us around their little fingers.
We’ve been thinking about the power of puppets lately, especially with the anniversary of Jim Henson’s death yesterday. Puppets continue to charm children the world over. Without new-fangled apps or gizmos, puppets still delight today’s kids just as they have for generations.
(Have you been to one of those touring shows Sesame Street does? Beetlemania had nothing on the screams of five-year-olds in the presence of Elmo and company.)
For child development experts, the appeal is clear: Puppets provide the visual component needed to allow children to suspend their disbelief and enter a world of fantasy. In storytelling involving puppets, children identify with the puppets and watch as puppets – themselves controlled by larger adults – act independently for their own wishes. (Adults identify with puppets on stage too. There’s a great scene in Charade where Audrey Hepburn tells her own story to Cary Grant by narrating the puppet show they’re watching.)
Using puppets lets children experience learning through visuals and movement, and by “letting” the puppet speak children become more confidence as all of the mistakes or mispronunciations can be attributed to the puppet, not the child.
Still, puppets go beyond education tools, and are just plain
fun. Would puppets still mean so much to
current generations if it weren’t for the continuing charm of the Muppets and
Even Margie admits to having made epic puppet shows when she was a kid, usually spoofs of whatever films were most popular with the playground set at the time. She says there are some audio tapes of these shows, for some reason. (We are begging her to bring them in!)
This reproduction of the original Mantagon model sheet #2- Privates drawn by designer Philip La...