Do you speak puppetry
Puppetry as an alternative form of communication
A Puppet That Initiated Social Awareness
I taught a class in Political Puppetry at the Seminar Hakibbutzim College in Tel Aviv. Their final project was to create to a large puppet that had a message to deliver to the population of the college. One group elected to focus on the fact that there are many children in Israel now who live beneath the poverty level. There had been an article on the weekend news the week before reporting about children who did not have enough to eat. The students in this group felt deep empathy for this cause. They contacted several municipalities to research the proper avenues for bringing food, clothing, and toys to needy children. They designed and created a ten-foot tall rod puppet made or wire fencing. Its body was a tubular shape, simply defined by the wire. This material was selected so the audience could see in and know that the body was empty. Its head was made from the same material and was round. Its only features were two large open eyes. Its arms and legs were made of a pale material.
The week before their performance, the students filled the bulletin boards on the campus with posters asking the student body and the teachers to bring donations of food, clothes, and toys to my classroom on the date of the presentation. On this designated date, the "Hungry Puppet" made its debut at the noon break. It stood outside of the cafeteria, telling its story all who were gathered in this area. The puppet inspired an enthusiastic reaction. Some people went back into the cafeteria and bought packaged items that they put in the puppet's stomach. They knew that this would later be donated to needy children. Others requested that the "Hungry Puppet" return the next day so that they could bring donations from home. The puppeteers responded positively to this request, and the next day, donations were plentiful.
The "Hungry Puppet" performed outside of the cafeteria once again. It told its personal story, and when people came out with food, it would turn to them and say, "What are you eating? OH! I am so hungry!" It was practically impossible for anyone to ignore a large puppet addressing him or her as they exited the building. It didn't take long before most of the campus knew about the "Hungry Puppet". My students collected two carloads of donations which they distributed themselves to needy children. Their total creation resulted in a heart-felt empathy for their project.