Puppet Show In April

The School of the Transfer of Energy Puppet Theater will be performing the play The Two Deaths of John Beartrist Laceroot this April at the Fiber Studio, 418 Commerce Street in Wichita, Kansas.  There will be three performances:  Friday, April 10th at 7pm and Saturday, April 25th at 3pm and again at 7pm.  Mike Schultz will be showing his current work at Fiber Studio as well.  Admission is free, but seating is limited.  Contact me at playbanjo@gmail.com or the Fiber studio   316 303-1996 fiberstudio1@sbcglobal.net.

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Two Puppet Stages

Here is the main stage for the School of the Transfer of Energy Puppet Theater with some interesting shadows in the morning sun.

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A slightly more complete picture of the same stage.  Here you can see the main curtains, and the side screens.  The shadow screen can be seen behind the trees of the scene in the stage.  The scene, which is under construction,  is John Beartrist Laceroot entering a grove of cedar trees.

Below is a peak at the mechanics of one of the rod puppets under the main stage floor.

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This is the stage for the marionette narrator of the play which takes place on the stage in the preceding photos.  The wooden container, which is actually used to transport part of the main stage, serves double duty as the platform for the narrator’s stage.  There will be a curtain concealing the legs of the operator.

Here is a detail at the foot of the stage.  The whale is the symbol for Jonah, who the narrator, Jonas, is named for.

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Wood-Pecker Puppet

Below is a small puppet of a red-bellied woodpecker.  This fellow has a minor role at the end of part one of the play The Two Deaths of John Beartrist Laceroot, performed by The School of the Transfer of Energy Puppet Theater.  It is carved from red cedar and is operated by a system of strings, weights and elastic.

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Here is a view of the mechanics on the reverse side.  He opens his mouth and flaps his wing.

The Scratch Stock

In order to cut the flutes in the columns on my puppet stage, I made up what I recently learned is called a “Scratch Stock”  (see Peter Follansbee’s blog )  from some maple and a piece of an old saw blade, in the form of a marking guage- with an adjustable fence.  On a side note, Peter Follansbee’s blog is quite interesting and unique- captivating even- for people who appreciate those who are exceedingly well aquianted with the specific history and dedicated to the authentic quality of their work.   One can also visit his website to see some of his extraordinary work in 17th century joined furniture.

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You can see the saw teeth on the top and the cutters I cut on the bottom.

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Shaping the cutters with a saw tooth file.

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Scratching the flutes into the black walnut held in a little jig made with a couple of nails in one board and another to one side to act as a fence.  It takes many slow passes across the hard walnut, and the ends are cleaned up with a small gouge.

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Another view before the jig.  I have a lot to learn but I am getting there.