How to perform
Saving lives as a firefighter or kidnapping a handsome prince as a dragon? No problem with our Living Puppets hand puppets!
Our hand puppets are not only available for any adventure, they are also loving cuddle friends, experienced problem-solving consultants and fantastic contact assistants. They’ll become family members and best friends, but most of all, they will be a lot of fun!
But what's the best way to go about it? Where is up and where is down? And where does the hand actually go in?
Basically: just start playing. As is well known, practice makes perfect.
And for all those who want to know a little more about puppetry, here are a few (hopefully helpful) tips.
I have the hand puppet and what now?
The human Living Puppets can all be played comfortably through the head. To do this, you put your thumb in the lower jaw of the hand puppet and the other fingers in the upper jaw. When moving the mouth, the thumb should now move up and down and the remaining fingers should be kept as still as possible. Not that easy, right? But don't despair if it doesn't work out right away. The main thing is that the mouth of the hand puppet is not wide open all the time.
"O's or" A's "? Now the mouth can open wide. With "e", "i" and "u" it must not open that far. A mirror can help with this. Also, to check in between that the hairstyle is still right.
If that's not enough for you, with some practice you can even play with the facial expression of most Living Puppets. The hand puppets can laugh or pinch their mouths sourly, look happy or sad. Try it!
Which is the right Living Puppet for me?
Anyone who has taken a look around will have noticed that the Living Puppets range now includes more than 400 different Living Puppets. How are you supposed to decide?
It helps to think about a few things in advance:
- Who do I want to play for? Children, adults, both?
- What do I want to play and where? On a stage, in kindergarten, at family celebrations, in class? Do I want to impart knowledge, tell fairy tales or come up with funny skits?
- What character should my puppet have? Shy, daring, funny?
- What does my puppets have to be able to do? Maybe the hands have to be playable?
Answering all of these questions will help you to find the right hand puppet. And if that's not enough, you can usually rely on the puppet to find you and not the other way around.
"Look into my eyes, Honey"
Eye contact is the key in puppet shows. The puppet makes contact with its counterpart through its eyes. Since the Living Puppets are usually not very focused on the matter and prefer to watch clouds and stars, you should always make sure that they are looking at the person they are talking to and, if necessary, bend your hand in the puppets head slightly downwards.
As long as the hand puppet is talking to the audience, the puppeteer admires the puppet’s pretty hairstyle. In this way, one also captivates the audience's attention to the hand puppet. However, as soon as the puppet speaks to you, you should also try to make eye contact with it.
Almost all of the large and medium-sized Living Puppets have playable hands. So you can play with one hand on the head and with the other hand on the puppet’s hand. You simply pull it over your hand like a glove. With the right gestures you can underline what has been said, express emotions or even do without the spoken word completely. Just as with mouth movements, however, "less is more" also applies here.
The hand puppet can
- Point to someone or something
- Scratch it’s head questioningly
- Hit it’s forehead, recognizing
- Tapping impatiently with it’s fingers on the table
Of course, the right timing plays an important role. Head movements, language and gestures must be well coordinated and interact at the right time. Our Opinion: Practice makes perfect and then it's easy!
Find the voice and speak correctly
Just like us humans, every Living Puppets hand puppet should have its own voice. This should match the personality of the hand puppet and be clearly different from your own voice. You can first try out which spectrum your own voice provides, from low to high. It is important to find a pitch that is not too strenuous for the vocal cords. Otherwise, they quickly resent you if they are stressed too often and for too long in an unnatural way. It is best to have a voice that is clearly different from your own, but not too difficult to speak.
Breathing calmly and speaking clearly are just as important as adapting the language to the audience. So, if you play for children, a child-friendly language has to be chosen.
Positioning the hand puppet
A Living Puppet fidgeting in the air destroys the illusion. Apart from the fact that he or she would certainly scold a lot afterwards. It is better to give the hand puppet a reference point. The puppet can sit or stand, come out from behind a stage or box. When the puppet moves around the room, it should be carried. Our hand puppets find the latter particularly great.
Also, the “discarding” should not be underestimated. Children in particular can have problems if the hand puppet, which was just accepted as an independent being, is packed lifelessly in the corner. It is better to put them away from the viewer's field of vision. Perhaps the hand puppet lives in its own suitcase or box and it has to rest for a moment.
The same applies when pulling it out: You can first check whether the puppet is awake again, or you can knock carefully on the box. The audience is then immediately excited to see what's next.
Who am I actually playing?
Now we know what we have to pay attention to so that our game works technically. But we have left the most important thing out of sight: Who is our Living Puppet?
What's his or her name? How old is she or he? Where does he or she come from? Does she or he have a dialect or an accent? What kind of background does he or she have?
The more precisely you work out the character of the Living Puppets hand puppet, the more believable it becomes. It can be very helpful to write down the biography of the hand puppet, at least in bullet points.
A credible hand puppet personality is just as important as a good playing technique. And let's be honest, who doesn't want to know everything about their new best friend?
In addition to all the technique, the joy of the game must of course not be lost. If you only think about whether you are doing everything right, you will quickly forget what it is all about: making yourself and others happy with the hand puppet show! With a little practice, many of the points mentioned come naturally. And if not, at least you have fun.
We hope you enjoy trying it out!