Saturday, April 28, 2012

A New Fall Project!

So for the few that may visit my blog, I need advice...
Fact #1: I am performing at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in September
Fact #2: I have a show built that needs some puppet tuning and some rehearsal, and a little work on the narrative. I like the show, but don't have a lot of passion for it.
Fact #3: I have an idea for a puppet magic act, Gepetto and Pinocchia, not a typo, Pinocchia, or at least something similar that ties it to Pinocchio, but as a boy. Me as Gepetto, and the puppet obviously as Pinocchia. I don't want to give away the ending(s), but there would be at least one transforming trick, maybe using a "whale"

I am very excited about doing a new show, and one that allows me to tell a story with puppetry and magic. Two things of which I have a passion to incorporate.

So if you read this, comment, or respond to me through email,

Let me know what you think I should do.
If you would like more info on my plans, please let me know, and I will tell you what I can.
If you have ideas of illusions that a puppeteer and marionette should do, please advise as well.

Regardless of decision, expect progress photos and a report soon.

So just recovered from a month of set and puppet building. Stopped moving long enough to let a cold catch up with me.
Anyway, the set looks great (Shawn Mortensen-designer), and if I do say, the Pinocchio puppet turned out very well.
I designed and built the body, and Debbie Bowman designed the costume. Robert Oldroyd wears it well, and does a great job bringing the wooden parts to life.
We also used some of the puppets I built for UVU's production of Charlotte's Web. Special thanks to UVU and the Noorda Theatre for letting us use them.
We also did two exhausting yet very fun improv outreach shows for SCERA Park Elementary. Special thanks to the teachers and chaperones for being such good sports.

Well on to our next production, The Wizard of Oz, and me getting a show ready for the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Can't decide if I want to continue working on a show Bronwyn and I did in SLC, or start a new project I really want to do. Maybe I will start and see if I get it close enough with time to rehearse.
Anyway, go see My Son Pinocchio at the SCERA, playing through May 12th. And check out this review...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Okay, so it is finally here, the video for Mindy Gledhill's Winter Moon (with puppet friends) is out on Youtube.
I did the puppets.
Check it out at this link...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Charlotte's Web

In spring 2009, I met Christopher Clark, Professor of Theatre at Utah Valley University, to discuss puppets for their production of Charlotte's Web.

He had just seen Warhorse in London, and was inspired by the beautiful horses built by Handspring Puppets. And so that became our inspiration for Charlotte's Web.

And so began a long summer of puppet experimentation. With Sarah Hainsworth assisting, we built (3) pigs, (2) sheep, (2) Geese, a rat, and of course a spider.
The pigs and sheep were hybrid marionettes, the geese and rat were rolling puppets, and Charlotte was a double hand over hand puppet (see photo above)

The Process:

After some initial sketches the fabrication began.

Heads were sculpted either in foam, or clay, or a little of both. Then a plaster mold was made. The heads were either cast in neoprene, or made from a thermoplastic.
For the bodies, first a profile form is cut from a piece of 3/4" plywood, then we take a long piece of PVC, and slowly heating it, we bend it around the form.

For little Wilbur, we went through two different sized forms before we "perfected" it.

Will post more in depth about the process in a later post.

Even the pull of the moon can't keep me awake any longer. To all a good night.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My First Puppet

I have always been interested in puppetry, but actually came to it through an evolution. Starting with scenic design, and slowly moving toward props, then masks, and finally puppets.

This is the first puppet I ever made. His name is Artaban, the fourth wise man. For a long time I have wanted to do a marionette version of the Other Wise Man. So far this puppet is as far as I have gotten. He was made in about 1997 while I was working at Mattel in the large and small dolls department. I actually demoed him at the Folk Art Festival on the Miracle Mile in LA in the summer of 1997.

Except for his head, he is solid wood, very heavy, and he didn't move very well. The head is paper mache, and painted horribly I might add. I was finishing him up in the middle of the night before the festival. I learned very quickly that you don't have to have detail parts that will be hidden by costumes.

Anyway, there it is, my first marionette.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why the name?

My name is Nat. By day (and some nights) I am the technical director and resident set designer at the SCERA Center for the Arts
in Orem, Utah. I infuse puppetry into our shows when appropriate and sponsor Saturday puppet shows at the SCERA and teach puppetry at Brigham Young University.

I also make puppets. In future posts I will relate my personal and professional history in puppetry. The puppeteers I have met, the shows I have designed, the directors and artists I have collaborated with, and the projects I have finished, partially finished, or started over. I will post photos of projects past, present and future.

So...the name, Constant Moon Puppet Co.

I have three dotters (see my wife's blog:, a wife, a dog, a bird, a full-time+ job, and a part-time job. They take up most of my daylight hours, and depending on the day of the week, some of my nightlight hours.

I frequently do small freelance jobs designing puppets or masks, or work on my own future puppet projects. The only time I have is at night, constantly and consistently at night. Sometimes ALL night. Even now as I write this post, it is 12:46am.

So the name is in homage to my nocturnal puppet activities. It is also inspired by a recent family event and a project.

The event: A full moon ski lift ride at Sundance with my wife and the 3 dotters.
The project: Video shoot for Mindy Gledhill's song, Winter Moon.

Feel free to comment as I will be posting ideas for future projects, and love opinions and comments.

I hope you enjoy this blog.