Making Puppets Come Alive

If the Muppets are all you know of puppetry then this episode will be an eye opener. Beyond the antics of Kermit the Frog and earlier popular acts such as Kukla, Fran and Ollie lies a history of dedicated professionals intent on developing a distinct theater of puppetry. They have their own traditions and icons and yes, their own Stanislavski.

Rob Boehm, past president of the Puppet Guild of Long Island, walks us through the world of puppetry and puppet theater since the 1950s, including his early interests and later experiences as a puppeteer. Both he and our own Connie Currie studied with Carol Fijan, the Great Neck-based master puppeteer who greatly influenced the development of puppet theater. They discuss Carol’s teachings and writings, her early days with the WPA and the enduring challenges of bringing puppets to life.

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2 thoughts on “Making Puppets Come Alive”

  1. This was such a joyous exploration of both local puppetry and Carol Fijan’s work and influence. I was a student of Carol’s and it was she who insisted (not suggested) that I become a professional puppeteer. Although I now work mostly as a ventriloquist, what I learned from Carol permeates so much happens onstage during my shows. What a wonderful relationship we had. I had the privilege of performing Excerpts from Shakespeare with Carol and doing the photography for her third and final book Puppets and Politics. It has also been my pleasure to share her concepts and standards as a lecturer for performers’ conferences over the last 5 years.

    Carol Fijan, her studio in Great Neck and the members of PGLI are more than treasured memories; they are foundational elements in both my understanding of the artform and the continued development of my performance style.

    1. Steve, thank you for such a wonderful comment on Carol and her work. I studied with her for three years, going one night a week for 6 semesters and they were three of the best years of my life.

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