I can be shock/startle frightened as much as anyone. Jump out at me when I’m not expecting it,and sure, my weak bladder tells the tale.Sometimes I wonder,though,if my love of the horror genre at an early age desensitized me significantly. There’s plenty of things I would readily call gross or depraved,but there is not a whole lot in special effects that I find truly scary.I had this revelation when I was thinking of the only comic book I’ve ever owned,which I begged Mother to buy me so I would have something to read while I waited for her at the hairdresser. I can’t remember the title and it’s long been packed away,but it’s very violent and graphic,about some jungle explorers who stumble upon a village ruled by a shaman who can leave his body to invade the bodies of huge tarantulas and pythons to kill outsiders(I think I’m close to the description anyway).
Oh,don’t get me wrong; there is much to enjoy in today’s scary movies and the tacky old B movies and everything in between,but folks,but putting on a corset, and crawling around, with vampire teeth and colored contact lenses just ain’t gonna do it for me. Well, unless you’re a guy. That might be pretty funny.
Me in Helen, Ga., where we had a puppetry festival in the late 80’s? Early 90’s? Anyway, I’m holding my little winged horse puppet Tumbleweed, who was much later recycled into Jimmie Kate.
In summer 2013, I had the great privilege of not only going to see The Monkees at The Ryman in Nashville, but also taking a quick trip down a few blocks to the Nashville Public Library to view the permanent collection on display of one of my heroes in the puppetry field. His name was Tom Tichenor, and although I never saw one of his plays live, I learned a lot about puppet building from his book, Tom Tichenor’s Puppets, which I checked out of the library almost weekly as a child. I now own this book and have used and adapted many of the patterns in the book to build my own puppets today.
- A magnificent castle used in the Nashville Public Library shows.
The second half of the cast in “Mrs. Fiddlehead’s Fables” is made up of dragons; all bright colors, all of a teenage sort of age and attitude. They do not have the first-and-last-names like the Unicorns; instead, their names come from their colors in other languages.
Realgar–Orange female with short, back-curving purple horns. She is our “girl power” member of the group, capable and enthusiastic. A tribute to Figment, as she is his colors in reverse.
Noxa–Pink female with short, spiral green horns. She is very petite and soft spoken. a complement to her best friend Rora.
Piros (was Russi)–Red female with long purple spiked horns. True to her color, she is firey tempered but mainly in defense of others, or occasionally, her own opinions. Best friends with Realgar.
Oolo–Yellow male with forward-pointing orange horns. He loves cooking and baking. He is very open and non judgmental.
Verda–Green female with long backward- pointing blue horns. She is a bit of a southern belle and is always there with a kind word to make someone feel better. Can be a bit of a pushover… until she’s had enough, however.
Modok–Dark green male with long backward-pointing red horns. Sinister looking , he conceals a big heart and tends to do good works in secret.
Rora–Turquoise female with short backward- pointing purple horns. She is a prankster and troublemaker,but often her schemes turn out to benefit her friends.
Nilya–Dark blue female with orange devil-like horns. Levelheaded and sensible, she likes things neat and orderly. She and Verda tend to hang out together.
Gorrindol–Large purple male with blue horns that curve forward and up. He is the “big guy” but not the “stupid guy”. Keeps his opinions to himself unless asked, but when he does speak he often speaks with to-the-point clarity.
Ruz (was Meramuda)–Dark pink male with tall backward-curving orange horns. Type-A personality, the boy-next-door and best pal to Gorrindol.
Another project I’ve had on the burner a while is “Mrs.Fiddlehead’s Fables”, which features a grand dame sort of character, Mrs. Fiddlehead, a dragon. She is a drama/theatre teacher and her class includes ten unicorns and ten dragons. A bit of a large cast, yes, but I’m just dying to make them and try this out. The idea as that this is another ensemble to portray various fairy tales while having backstage interactions as well. All the while being a bunch of youngsters of about high school “age”.
The unicorns are colored in semi-realistic horse colors; I thought this would be a good way to color them as individuals yet also set them apart from their brightly hued dragon counterparts.
The unicorns are as follows:
Ginger Tarbutton–Pretty and proud of her spots;tends to be a bit of a diva. Has red leopard appaloosa coloration.
Parthenia Starflame–Bookish and studious; sometimes takes life too seriously. A dark bay.
Janus Stormbringer–A bit of a rebel rocker on the outside, creative and quite sensitive inside. Chestnut, with a close-cropped flaxen mane.
Fernsby Greenfield–Smooth intellectual, very sophisticated and with an extensive vocabulary. Grey.
Faunt Grandprancer–The peacekeeper,cheer team and clown all in one. A rich buckskin.
Mordecai Goldentrot–The Golden Boy,a most popular guy and a bit full of himself. He’s charismatic,but goodhearted. Palomino, of course.
Otho Silverbeard–Absent-minded genius. Another gray, with a snow white mane.
Electa Ironfoot–A big girl,taller than the others, but a bit shy. Does not like to do girly things. Grulla coat pattern.
Marguerite Mistywings–Avid reader and writer with a runaway imagination. Ten points of you catch the homage.:) Dark palomino pinto.
Lobelia Swiftflight–Athletic,confident, but with a keen sense of fun. Black and white pinto.
Tiptak is the first completed member of the cast of Puppatoons Playhouse. She is a recycled plaid cow puppet that I simply added the pink fur onto, and I quite like how she turned out. She was originally going to be made from a very scraggly for that was a deep maroon, but that fur turned out to be too dark and stuck out in too many directions. Once I found a matching long pink fur to go with her facial plaid, it just all fell into place.
I always find myself talking for her with my teeth clenched together in the back, a bit like Gloria from
“Auntie Mame”,but she has more a of a grumpy way of speaking.