cal mel friend2

On our way to the workshop on Sunday, Calamity was very excited and chatted about what he would say and do with the workshop puppets he was about to meet. In his mind there was no question they would become friends. After all, they should have so much in common, they are all puppets. Little did he know that the Dedes are not the only type of puppet there is. He got a big shock when he first laid eyes on the pseudo-bunraku princess my team had created the day before. He instantly went all quiet. I believe he was intimidated by her sheer size. I had to laugh. He should have seen the puppets from the other teams – the princess was the smallest of the lot!

(Just a quick explanation: Bunraku is a traditional japanese puppet, operated by three people. The most experienced puppeteer operates the head and the right arm, another one the left arm and the third is responsible for the legs. When you learn to become a bunraku puppeteer you start out with the legs and it might take you 15 years before you move up to the left arm.)

cal mel work

In the end I had to encourage him to get a bit closer so that the princess could take a good look at him too. I believe her eye sight wasn’t the best. It’s a good thing the princess kept still (she had to, as this was before the course started for the day and there weren’t three people around who could have operated her).

cal mel friend

Needless to say, Calamity lost interest in making friends. After he had said his timid hello to the super-sized princess, he quickly ran to the corner and sat still for the rest of the day, happy to observe the goings-on.

I should have known it! Once we’d finished for the day and we were on our way to the train station, he became very critical about my performance during the day. He commented that in his view I was a coward and I let the others walk all over me in team presentations. He definitely thought I always had the weakest character and the poorest performance. He was adamant I should have taken on a lead role at least once and exposed myself to the critique of the facilitator. I tried to explain to him that I wasn’t worried about the critique at all, as I had a very good one the day before.  However, I didn’t want to compete with the others, as on this day the individuals felt comfortable enough in the group to let their usual character traits emerge. I attended the weekend primarily to learn how to work a puppet properly, what to focus on in a show and also to see an experienced puppeteer run his workshop. To my surprise I noticed that the structure of the course wasn’t actually too dissimilar to the structure of my digital imaging workshops, except that I don’t have any breathing exercises in my programme :). It would be worth a try!

“So what did you get out of it then, if you don’t want to become the best puppeteer ever?” Calamity asked.

“Ah, you know,” I shrugged my shoulders “you can’t become the best puppeteer in a weekend anyway! It was very interesting to observe the group dynamics, though.”

“Do you reckon you will be able to play us properly in future? That would be useful!”

“I certainly have some great pointers but I will have to practise a lot once we have the new studio space.”

“But nothing tangible has come out of it, or has it?”

“Oh, yes, it has! It will all be revealed in due time.”

“Tell me, tell me” he nagged, but I was too tired and I fobbed him off by saying I would make an announcement once we were back in Auckland and all the Dedes were assembled.

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