Training with the masters

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Here is a video that was the result of training at a very specialised puppetry conference (O’Neill National Puppetry Conference), to which I won a scholarship to attend in the USA during June, 2013. I trained everyday from 9am till midnight along with 4 other students taking the 8-day “Advanced Marionette Manipulation” course. Here we worked one-on-one with Phillip Huber (world-famous master puppeteer, who did marionette sequences in blockbuster movies such as; ‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful’). At the conclusion of the conference, I performed my finished marionette piece, ‘Woo Pee Woo’ in 2 big public performances, attended by many well-known puppeteers, colleagues, family and friends.

It was an amazing experienced where I fully immersed myself into the world of the marionette and fell in love with the art form. I find that this style of puppetry feels more fluid and natural to me, as the dance movements I envision flow through my body into the strings of the puppet. I guess it also helps that my full name, Marianne Mettes, sounds like Marionettes… I must have been born for it! I’m looking forward to creating more marionette puppets and choreographies (and marionette puppetry fusions) when I get home!

The marionette students (manipulation & building course) at O'Neill

The marionette students (manipulation & building course) at O'Neill

I had created my puppet, Rosie, two weeks before I left for the USA and is a special ‘soft-body’ marionette design. I later improved my marionette with the assistance and direction of Phillip Huber at the conference. The music I choreographed my piece to, is actually music I wrote, recorded and performed in 2005 – when I was asked to compose music for a dance choreography. This was a result of a series of compositions I created for a big dance performance depicting the four seasons and ‘Woo Pee Woo’ was the summer song! I’ve always loved this song, but never found another place for it, until I was searching for a piece of music to choreograph the marionette piece to and it fit perfect with the character and personality of my puppet.

If you like the music, you can get it online here:
CD baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mariannemettes
iTune: https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/woo-pee-woo-single/id718616286

Puppet masters (left to right): Fred Thompson, Judy & Jim Rose, Phillip Huber

Puppet masters (left to right): Fred Thompson, Judy & Jim Rose, Phillip Huber

During the conference, I also took another course learning to build moving mechanisms, levers and triggers into puppets lead by The Muppets’ puppeteer and puppet maker, Jim Kroupa. Here I built my very own puppet (that resembled Rizzo the Rat from the Muppets) that had moving eye brows and a trigger mouth.

My finished puppet with teachers Jim Kroupa and Jonathan Little

My finished puppet with teachers Jim Kroupa and Jonathan Little

USA puppetry adventures

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Meet our newest member of the the PuppetOOdle family! I’ve made Rosie specially to take with my on my upcoming USA puppetry adventure, where I’ll be doing an in-depth marionette course at the O’Neill National Puppetry Conference! I’ll make sure I keep you updated on my adventures.

Meet Rosie, our newest puppet

Meet Rosie, our newest puppet

Please note, as I’ll be overseas it’s better to email (marianne@puppetoodle.com) as I won’t be checking voicemails. If there is an urgent matter, please call: 0011 372 300 937 if possible, during US daytime. PuppetOOdle will be able to take bookings again from late August/beginning September.