2014-2015 Season,  A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Face Behind the Puppet (Part 1)

By: Eric Stroud, dramaturg

Hello All! I am so glad to have you back. Last week Kasey gave us an exciting look inside of the renderings and costume design that was so wonderfully created for this show. This week however, we will be harking back to the puppetry. Operating a puppet is no joke. Many people see it as a childish hobby or an awkward talent, but as one of my previous posts proclaimed, puppetry is an art form.

For all of the TYA shows that we do here at BYU there is a requirement that each actor must meet, in order to take part in the performance. It comes in the form of a class, twice a week from 8 am to 2 pm. In this class, the actors will learn how to perform for children and thoroughly rehearse the play that they will be putting on.

However, this show has been rather unique. In addition to learning how to act for children, and thorough rehearsal of their show, these actors have spent hours learning puppetry. Back aching, finger cramping, sore knee making puppetry. In today’s blog post, we will find out their motivations for doing so and how they have grown from it.

Chandra Marie Lloyd
Chandra Marie Lloyd

This is Chandra Lloyd. She is a seasoned veteran of Young Company. She also is a seasoned BYU puppeteer with her involvement in The Selfish Giant. She plays the part of Bottom the Weaver, who we will here from on next week’s post.

Eric Stroud: What made you do a TYA show?  

Chandra Lloyd: I love Theatre for Young Audiences. I think kids have wonderful imaginations and I really enjoy working with them. I’m also very interested in working with kids in a therapeutic setting in the future and love every experience I have doing workshops with them. I believe in educating them for the future, but in unique ways they will remember and be able to put into practice. It is a very rewarding experience. 

Eric: How has it been working with puppets? What’s been your favorite part? What’s been the most challenging part?

Chandra: I love working with puppets. After doing The Selfish Giant, I was excited to do it again. There is something magical about seeing a puppet come to life and have its own personality. I’m always amazed at how they take on a life of their own and though you control them, they influence you in that control. The most challenging part is really focusing on the puppet, never letting your attention stray. They are dependent on you for life and breath and you must give yourself over to their needs with an intense dedication. It is rewarding and magical, but challenging to give them that life. 

Eric: What do you think the puppets add to the show?

Chandra: Magic and imagination. They add an entire new world with different rules and less gravity. They make it fun and funny. They are such a creative element of the show. 

Emily Simons
Emily Simons

This is Emily Simons. Not only is she new to Young Company, but also to theatre (having a background mostly in debate). She brings a lot to the table in skill and it is a blast to see her connected to her puppet and its personality. She plays the part of Hermia the lover and Starveling the puppet (who we will meet next week).

Eric: What made you do a TYA show?

Emily: Well, I have always been a big fan of Shakespeare, especially A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I also really wanted to preform for kids. It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m very blessed to be a part of it.

Eric: How has it been working with puppets? What’s been your favorite part? What’s been the most challenging part?

Emily: The puppets are amazing! I definitely had to buff my arms up a bit to hold it for long periods of time. They are super fun to play with and I’m excited to see the audience’s reaction to them.

Eric: What do you think the puppets add to the show?

Emily: I believe that the puppets add an element of fun to the show. It gives the audience a chance to use their imaginations to believe that the puppets are people with motivations and feelings.

Check back next time to meet the rest of our puppeteers!



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