Site Counter

View My Stats

Friday, February 13, 2009


Dear N'Jay:
On your website you asked the question of how to turn a fairy tale into a ventriloquist skit. I thought I'd tackle that question here. If you like the response feel free to use it on your site. Librarians and preschools LOVE hearing that you have a show about a popular fairy tale. They know how to promote it and they have an idea of what you will be talking about then. When a library advertises, "The story of Cinderella" starring you and your puppet(s), they know what ages to expect as well. I once took Cinderella and switched it to a boys' story. CinderFELLA. The wicked stepmother became the wicked stepfather. ("I'm not wicked. I'm just morally challenged.") The stepsisters were stepbrothers. ("If you don't watch out, we'll step on YOU!") and the fairy godmother was the Godfather. ("Cinderfella, I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse.") It was not a vent skit, but you could interview each of the characters and make it one. I am currently working on a version of the Prodigal Son, as found in the book of Luke in the Bible. I will play the part of a detective who is hired to find a runaway dog. The owner loves the dog and wants him to come home. First, I interview a flea. (Which is a very cheap puppet! All I have to do is look at my hand.) At the end of the interview I ask the audience to give the flea a hand for being so helpful. OOPS! Then, I run into an Axtell bulldog, who turned out to be a bully dog. He became 'friends' with the runaway dog, but only did it so he could take all of his food. He last saw the dog going into the forest. Not a safe place for a city dog! In the imaginary forest I find an Axtell warthog. He taught the dog how to find food by looking for bugs under logs, or eating dead animials. He's not sure where the dog went next. I decide it's time to put up a reward for the dog. So I have to make a poster. I use the Axtell Magic Drawing Board and draw a picture of the dog. I write Missing Mutt! Reward $1. I tell the boys and girls to keep looking. Look this way (the drawing's eyes follow where I point) and that way (more movement) and ALL around! (lots of eye movement.) Finally the dog starts to talk and tell me that he is worth more than $1. So I change it to $1.25. I go back to the owner (an old man puppet) but I'm met by an Axtell alley cat. He tells me that the dog came home. He isn't happy about it! Finally, I talk to the owner again and discover all the pieces to the story. ----- Thus, one way to tell a fairy tale is to change it to an animal tale, or to change the characters from female to male. It takes a lot of characters to just tell the story straight. METHOD #2: Tell the story from a minor character's point of view. If you had to tell the story of Peter Pan, you could have a boy puppet who was one of the Lost Boys. He would tell everything he had seen or heard that happened. Or tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood by talking to the Woodsman or to Grandma. ("I told her that she didn't have to come.") Method #3: Modern Version. Tell the same story, but modernize it. Instead of a wolf, it could be a stranger that follows Red Headband and tries to take her Girl Scout Cookies. etc. Method #4: Put yourself in the story. You become one of the main characters, as does your puppet. I REALLY would like to play the part of Ebenezer Scrooge and my puppets would be Cratchit and the 3 ghosts. I would talk to them one at a time.

No comments: