Mark Wade Writes

Ever wonder why some vents are successful and others just "get by"?  They seem to have all the right ingredients..good stage presence..good material..but somehow things just don't click for the performer.  Maybe it is time to look at the puppet the vent is using.

Often I see would-be kidshow vents using scary puppets or figures and the audience is just unsettled by the appearance of the character.  No matter what the vent says through the puppet, how the puppet looks undoes everything.  My suggestion is to match up the type of puppet to the audience for which it was intended.  Although it may be a antique figure built decades ago in the thirties, it may just not be appropriate for today's young audiences.

That's not saying all vent figures are scary.  Many have pleasant faces that are inviting to kids.  To the younger members of the audience the pleasant vent figure is just another kid like them, and they relax and accept the puppet as one of their own.  I think the modern figure makers get this as I have seen many hard figures that I would be proud to use in my own shows.

Soft puppets play well with the younger set but sometimes the adult audiences want the traditional vent figure.  With the onset of the Muppets and "Sesame Street", adults sometimes associate the soft puppets with children.  I and other pros have been able to breach this gap by using human soft puppets and not so many animals, thus giving the adult audience the feel of the show being aimed at them.  I COULD have used animal puppets, but I didn't.  It was the wrong choice for that type of audience.

A lot goes into a vent act.  Analyze every aspect to make each show right for you and the audience!


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4/18/2012

    So THAT'S been my problem! And all this time I thought it was my FIGURE scaring the kids. . . :-)
    Bill Matthews