I’ve been very lazy with blogging the past couple of weeks. You can probably tell, right? I think it’s because last year this time I was relaxing at the seaside. The feeling lingers.
This year, the wife and I are staying at home for the winter holidays. One, we’ve already been on vacation this year. Two, we don’t have any money to go on vacation. And three, we each have a massive amount of studying to do, which won’t happen if we’re on vacation.
This week, though, we’ve been quite busy. We got roped in to help a local church with a vacation club they’re running for the town’s kids, so we’ve been dusting off our puppetry skills (and rediscovering muscles and joint we had forgotten about).
As this meant getting all our puppets out from the various cupboard where they are usually stored I reckoned it’s the perfect opportunity to photograph them all so I can show you. Previously I’d shown you the puppets we have made on order for other people. Today? Here’s a line-up of our puppets made for personal use:
Toby, on the right, is not the brightest pea in the pod, but he’s very sweet and will go out of his way to help a friend. Louis, the chap with the green hair, is a smooth-talking schemer who comes up with one harebrained idea after the other, but he’s a good guy deep down. I do voices for both of them.
Then we have Hope and Annie. Annie is a timid little thing who scares easily and has a tendency to feel sorry for herself, but she can be really sweet. Hope is the most mature of the kids and usually the voice of reason when Louis gets the other two swept up in one of his ill-informed projects. These kids are all around nine to ten years of age.
Tessy, on the other hand, is five, with everything that implies. She is sweet, gullible, enthusiastic and compassionate. She is the wife’s primary character when we do live puppets and always a hit with the kids.
Grandma was made for a Culture Day at the school where I used to work. As part of the day’s events, the kids from the school (trained by yours truly) put on a puppet show for the toddlers who attended the day. Grandma (or Nkgono in Sesotho) taught the kids about what it meant to be a Rainbow Nation. She was voiced by one of the students, so we don’t actually have our own voice for her yet. (The dress was made by the mother-in-law.)
Grandpa Garry is my puppet. I conceived him, built him and voice him. He is very wise and likes telling stories to kids and teaching them right from wrong.
He also likes to surprise kids by dressing up like Santa at Christmastime. The Santa-suit was made by the very talented mother-in-law. His regular garb posed a much greater challenge – there’s not a wide selection of grandpa-type outfits in the three-to-six-months size range…
Our puppets are not all human, though.
Lambkin the lamb is not only one of our most beautiful puppets, but also the most expensive – the cloth covering his body is ridiculously expensive and has to be purchased in sheets, not per meter/foot. In human terms he’s about the same age as Tessy with a similar personality. I do his voice as well (and just to be clear, each of the puppets I voice has a completely distinctive voice, and none of them sounds like me).
And last but not least there’s these guys. They’re not character puppets, but along with Louis they form a band called The Black Sheep. The one on the left is the drummer (he has a puppet-sized drum set, not pictured here), and he insists on being called Ringo. No idea where he picked that up. The guitarist is called Brian, and for some reason he dubbed his guitar the special orange. That’s sheep for you…