Words of Wisdom

Sergei Obraztsov – Russian puppeteer and founder of the State Central Puppet Theatre, Moscow

The following is from Obraztsov’s book “My Profession.”

In my childhood art was felt to be something very simple and clear, an organic part of man’s life.  This feeling is the most important thing my family gave me, the most important thing for my profession.

(In this next passage, he is describing what he learned from the failure of a performance early in his puppetry career.)
My mistake – my fault – was that I did not have a real goal.  Of course, I did have a goal of sorts:  I wanted to be a success.  But success must not be a goal: it can only be the result of achieving a given goal.

The goal in creating a work of art can only be its idea, or more correctly, conveying it fully to those for whom the work is intended.  It is necessary therefore to feel this idea as the work’s primary goal and to be carried away by the theme that resolves this task.

Unfortunately, although the blows were painful, I did not immediately come to the conclusion that the most important thing in performing or staging a play was to know what you want to say.  Without having a clear idea about this, one should not begin work on a performance.

Albrecht Roser – Brilliant marionette artist from Stuttgart, Germany

The following is from the Third International String Puppetry Institute held at the University of Connecticut, August 1998.  Kurt Hunter had the good fortune to be able to attend the institute and recorded the following.

Don’t force the frog.  – (As we were allowed to operate Albrecht’s frog marionette, the first lesson was to discover what the frog wanted to do, what movement came from the puppet, rather than trying to “make” it do something. In short, “Don’t force the frog.”)

Only movement comes out of the puppet, so everything must start from there.

Technique does not mean complication.

Don’t try to be the best.  It’s hard enough to be good.

Martin Stevens – American puppeteer, producer of the Stevens’ Correspondence Course in Puppetry

The following is from his book, “Stevens’ Course in Puppetry.”

A Puppet is the Shape of an Idea in Motion.  And if your idea if fuzzy your puppet will be fuzzy, and your audience reaction to you will be fuzzy.