1. Welcome to the Muppet Central Forum!
    You are viewing our forum as a guest. Join our free community to post topics and start private conversations. Please contact us if you need help with registration or your account login.

  2. Sesame Street Season 48
    Sesame Street's 48th season officially began Monday August 6 on PBS. After you see the new episodes, post here and let us know your thoughts.

    Dismiss Notice

Christian Puppetry

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by Buck-Beaver, Oct 10, 2006.

  1. dsarver

    dsarver Active Member

    I second that! Very well put.
  2. JoeyMuppet

    JoeyMuppet Well-Known Member

    Same here...
  3. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    I like Buck tend to avoid discusions of this subject , but from a purely secular point of veiw involving only performance , here are my thoughts.

    Puppetry in my veiw is often considered a lesser art by lay people of all walks of life, People tend to view it as a "Childs" activity so it is rarely given the thought and respect it deserves.

    in general the puppet ministry work i have seen is done by well meaning but less than talented puppeteers, the simple truth is , they are doing this for the most part on a voulenteer basis,and i cant fault them for trying to get thier message(what ever that maybe) out,But even as a kid , i knew bad puppet stuff when i saw it.

    But its not just Puppetministry people who are guilty of this, lots of people do bad "puppetry".just look at some of the stuff on Youtube, or Basic cable, heck even on some local public television stations, Their is a reason the big budget puppet shows are very selective about who they hire to puppeteer.

    Unfortunetly , i do not think that much can be done to sovle this, unless all of these different Religions (be they christian or any other denominations) are willing to spend the time and money necessary to train better performers, write better shows, and build or buy better puppets.

    just my thoughts ,
  4. rtgentry

    rtgentry Well-Known Member

    I have been doing puppets in church for about a year. I had a guy help me at one point . Since then I am still solo. I use a human to interact with. Or just use them to MC certain things. Or to make announcements. I also use them to tell stories to the kids.

    Truth is churchs wont spend the money on PRO Puppets due to that not being the point of the ministry. Untill builders start offering better prices for them maybe they shouldnt knock them so much.
  5. rtgentry

    rtgentry Well-Known Member

    I buy all my puppets and use them at church. I dont expect them to purchase them. I wouldnt want to share anyways lol
  6. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    justa personal opinion here, but ,most builders can not and should not lower their prices just so a ministry can use them, we builders are spending just as much time on puppets that will be used in a secular shows as we are in ones aimed at a particular religion.
    its a little unfair to blame pro builder for lack of quality in a show.The mas produced puppets that most people can afford to buy for use in the ministry show can be manipulated in a proffesional way , it just takes practice, and skill, and talent to do so.

    unless the builder is interested in supporting a ministries work, in that case more power to him,
  7. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Personally, I think the cost of puppets is irrelevant. I just helped a school here in Mexico do a big 20 minute science-based show that involved about 40 puppets of cells, insects and a giant 20 foot long caterpillar that morphed in to ten butterflies. The teacher spent about $35 on materials and it looked great.

    It does require creativity, but lots of people do great puppet shows with very little money. Look at The Rag Show, you could do that with a couple of sticks, scissors, glue and access to a photocopy machine.
  8. wes

    wes Well-Known Member

    I know I"m guilty of crenging at this site but I have to remember that,they are doing the best they can with what they got, over the years I have learn to not be a Puppet snob as my sister would call me. The best way I deal with these situations is to offer my help and most people say sure, go ahead and we have fun with it.

    Here's a little true story:

    I will never forget the time my I went with my grandparents and their friend to one of their friends church, he was the pastor and had grew up with my family. They found out that I was coming and at that time I was at the end of my Senior year in school and doing alot of Puppet Classes arounnd the state.

    They knew I was comming and they put on a puppet show for us. It was horrible, they used the bapitismal as a puppet stage (which is cool I had to use that to and many people do!) you could see heads, hands, and arms. They flip the puppets around like rag dolls, lips sync was non-exsitant! Everyone on my pew leaned over and looked at me with smile and I fakingly smile back not to show my horror.

    My Grandmother reach over and squezed my nee and patting it as to say "it will be over in a littile while." Later the people came up to me and asked me how I like it, I didn't want to hurt any feelings! I told them a Lye! I said it was good and a good song that they might want to wotk on their lip sync just a littile. When we got to the car to go home, I wasn't going to say anything but my Grandparents friend couldn't hold it in, "That was the worst display of puppetry I have ever seen!" and then My Grandparents add their thoughts but we all agreed that their ententions were good and pure.

    I think from then on I decided that i would offer help to any church that needed puppetry on some scale. It really is different at every church.
  9. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    i agree with you thier , its true you can do a lot with less, but most of the Ministry shows i have seen are using the old Hand and rod puppets, ,
  10. dkmontgomery

    dkmontgomery Well-Known Member

    I Can Relate

    I agree that we must do the best with what we have. However; I also agree that puppet builders should not drop their prices to where they are giving away their work. Everybody would like to be able to buy something for nothing. I know that much time goes into professional puppets. There are some builders out there; however, that offer some great puppets at great prices that work well in church. Agian, as it has already been stated, it takes practice and technique to make any puppet useful regardless of the setting of the presentation whether secular or church. You can spend alot of money on a character, but that doesn't mean it will be successful. I saw a guy at a convention some years ago utilize a basic Rat puppet (with no legs) outside of a puppet stage. I was a bit sceptical at first (he was not a ventriloquist) but his technique and routine brought this character to life. It was amazing.

    We should all strive to improve in quality and technique. I for one feel that churches should see puppet ministry and kids programs as more than just a second hand ministry. I feel anything that goes on for kids is as important as what goes on with the adults. Let's do our best regardless of the venue.:halo:
  11. wes

    wes Well-Known Member

    You are preachig to the Choir,;)

    I second that and amen!!:)
  12. rtgentry

    rtgentry Well-Known Member

    Sorry I should state that I dont expect someone who does not want to lower their price. If a builder feels led to do so then That is great. I buy puppets at the normal price. I never mention it is for church.
    I use them for personal use also.

    I have custom puppets , commercial puppets, my own sorry sewn puppets, and they all work great with the right technique, writing and timing.

    I was thinking of those who complain about the quality of the puppets themselves along with the poor performance.
  13. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    You know I'm a big believer in the power of a good idea. What bugs me more so than anything else isn't the quality of performance, or the puppets but (from what I've seen) the lack of ideas.

    Maybe I'm making huge generalizations here, but quoting scripture and telling bible stories can be done by anyone. I think that Christians (or members of any other religion for that matter) who want to use puppetry as an aspect of their faith should use it as a medium of self-expression. Don't rely on stock puppets and generic scripts, use puppetry to tell me something. Talk to me. Communicate your ideas, beliefs, values and why they're important to you as a member of your religion. Use puppetry to start a discussion and build a bridge between your community and others.

    I think there's few, if any, groups doing that right now because it's hard. It's not the money, the skill or expertise that's the problem. It takes a lot of work, thought, creativity, and (dare I say it) faith.

    It's much easier to just hit like-minded people over the head with a big, fat dogmatic club.
  14. Phantom

    Phantom Well-Known Member

    Point well made. I've often bemoaned the "dryness" of most skits, but to be honest, mine aren't much better. I recognize this fact and have expressed the desire to change that and have studied not only inspriational text, but comedy and drama writing books. Like any other art form, it takes time and practice to refine these skills. I would like to think I am pushing that way, however I haven't dedicated enough time to writing.

    My last skit was better and maybe I can alter it enough to be posted. (It focused on money and the setting was a local town festival which was going on at the time.) Many of my skits are for a specific performance which (although may be self-imposed) limits my creativity.

    My cousin is incredibly gifted in this capacity. I've been encouraging him to write more skits. Again, for me, it's the log-in-the-eye syndrome.
  15. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Don't fall in to the trap of putting down yourself or your own work though. In discussions like this there are often people saying "I'm not that good". That's irrelevant and it's usually not true anyway. Honest self-criticism is important and I'm sure there's things about everyone's puppetry work that they'd like to improve (most certainly true in my case), but I think it's not about jumping over the bar, it's about how high you set it for yourself.

    Big ideas + high standards + hard work = great puppetry.
  16. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Well-Known Member

    I will say I am very pleased to see puppeteers like wes and Phantom and others who've posted here, pushing the envelope to end the bad stigma of Puppet ministry. Keep up the geat work.
  17. Phantom

    Phantom Well-Known Member

    I'm just trying to be the best me I can be. That's why I'm here... Thanks.
  18. bdfuller

    bdfuller New Member

    This has been a very interesting discussion, I agree with a lot of points that are being directed to the lack of quality in Christian Puppetry. I don't think that anyone should lower prices of puppets, give anything away free, or change the method of puppet building to suit one group of people.
    I agree that people should be more artistic in there ablity as puppeteers and there jobs in Christian Ministries. It is great that these things are out in the open and on the table so to speak.
    My question to you now that everyone has voiced a opinion of bad Christian Puppetry.
    " What can we do as people to make a change in this Christian Community ?"
    " How many of you are willing to donate your time to go out as the Disciples did and educate those that are lost and un-informed about the correct way a puppet program should be conducted?"
    " How do we reach these Christians, to tell them what there doing wrong?"
    This has been a eye opening experience for me, and I am wondering what will be the outcome of this discussion... I certainly will change my outlook on how I look at things from now on.
    Now I have to look at how I can change, and what part can I play in making a difference in the Christian Community.
    I would like to thank each of you for your honesty, We don't always have to agree but we all strive for the same things... and that is to make a better world in which to live.
    I think that much good will come from these discussions.. Hopefully churches will take notice and learn.
  19. RevTieDye

    RevTieDye Member


    I understand your point of view. And I'm sorry that it puts you off. But the thread is titled "Christian Puppetry." I'd be fascinated if I found a thread called "Jewish Puppetry." And I'd be bummed (disappointed) if I found that it was just a bunch of Jewish puppeteers discussing the same aspects of puppetry that are found everywhere else on these boards. I'd want to find out what makes Jewish Puppetry unique. I'd be put off if I found myself in a thread called "Puppets & Porn." But you know what? I'd never enter a thread with that title.

    That being said, some of us are Christians with a passion for puppetry, and so we use it as a way of expressing our faith. Others are Christians that see Puppetry as a tool to be used in Christian ministry, and pick it up expressly for that purpose. Some of these, I think are the real culprits when it comes to giving "Christian Puppetry" a bad rap--because they don't take the time to master the craft. Which is too bad, because the Bible is pretty clear (not quoting, just summarizing) that we should always give our very best, especially when it comes to what we do in ministry.

    I hope my tone came accross as friendly and open. But I'm afraid my comment about "puppets & porn" might sound condescending, but I really didn't mean it like that.

    (then again, does anybody ever MEAN to be condescending? Or is it just inherent in their own sense of...okay now I'm definitely off-topic)
  20. wes

    wes Well-Known Member

    Here Here:) I agree!

    Thanks Vic, It's got to be change for the betterment og puppetry kind, and most importantly for the Message that were are trying to get across!:)

Share This Page

Sign Up for Email and Save 15% + Free Shipping @ ShopPBS.org!