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The Greatest Show on EarthIndian Nations Council

Be sure to speak clearly. It is harder to understand a person's voice when you can't watch his face and  lips while he talks.

Do not hide one puppet behind another.

Let the puppet exaggerate both feelings and actions that go with the feelings. An excited puppet should be wildly excited, while a tired puppet should groan and sag so wearily that the audience knows instantly how tired he is.

In some cases, it is a good idea to have the puppet speak to himself as he goes about his act. For example, Êhe might say while looking "I'll look under this tree for a rock".

Special Effects

Musical sounds and sound effects make a puppet production more lively and vivid. Usual and comical sounds can result from the use of bells, drums, gongs, cymbals, castanets, triangles, whistles, horns, rattles, and natural objects such as pots and pans.

Thunder Shake a piece of galvanized tin or iron.

Lightning Flash white light on and off. A photo flash can also be used.

Breaking glassUse an old piece of window glass in a sack and drop on floor.

Crashes Fill a wooden box with glass and a few stones, then nail the top shut. Drop or tip on end for various types of crashes.

Horses Two half coconut shells clapped on a wooden board gives the sound of horses walking or galloping on a hard surface. For hoofbeats on a soft road or turf, use wallboard.

Running WaterA small box with tin on bottom. Place a small amount to lead in the box and tilt box to produce sounds of running water.

TrainsSandpaper or wire brushes on metal when done in the right rhythm.

RainFill a tin biscuit or cookie tim on third full of dry peas or bean and rotate slowly.

Gun ShotSlap yardstick or thin board on a hard flat surface.

Smoke, Fog, Etc.Incense, melting dry ice, baby powder.

SnowSmall pieces of white paper fanned off a flat box. Moth flakes or Christmas snow can be dropped from above. Soap flakes can also be used.

Sawing WoodRub a piece of sandpaper across the rim of a large foil pan.

FireCrumble cellophane into a ball. When released in front of a microphone, it will crackle like a fire.

Cricket ChirpRun finger over a small piece of fine tooth comb.

Puppet Stages

You may want to make your theater a simple, one time thing, or an elaborate, permanent structure for future use. The materials you need will be determined by the type of theater you desire. The main purpose for a puppet stage is to mask the puppeteer. However, the stage should enhance the production too. The stage should be sturdy, but it is not necessary to use heavy material. The only weight directly on the stage should be the curtain. Lights, sound equipment, and other materials should not be supported by this type of staging.

Types of Stages

Makeshift - suitable for simple productions. An example might be a cereal box, or small cardboard box.

Temporary - are a little more sturdy and should be used if the stage is used for an extended period. An example might be a large cardboard box or a sheet of cardboard.

Skits and PuppetsPage X

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