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.

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