Mark Wade Writes

Matching up the right puppet character for you and your audience  is one important aspect that I feel a lot of vents overlook when preparing for a show.  I am a true believer that "one puppet does not fit all audiences", and I will try to elaborate for you.

As a kidshow vent I am acutely aware of matching up the right puppet for my young crowd.  I once had a bully puppet made that had a sneer on his face.  I gave him a demanding, gruff voice and in a word, it scared the heck out of kindergarten audiences.  I thought "Maybe it's the voice!", so I changed the voice to make it a bit less intense and softer.  Nope, the puppet still scared the kids.  So I dropped this puppet from the show, went to a more friendly looking "bully" (did that make sense?), and the kids responded much, much better.  I had failed to match up the right puppet for the audience.

I also make sure for kidshows that the puppets that are animals don't have sharp looking teeth.  I give all my characters human, more square looking dentures.  It give the puppet a "softer", non-threatening look.

I know of a lovely female vent who uses a girl puppet that is in a word, scary!  The puppet has rough features, a big squarish head, and really looks like a guy puppet dressed as a female.  I have seen this vent perform and her performances could be so much better received if only she would look at matching up the right puppet that works for her and the audience.  Unfortunately, this vent will not change..so she is setting herself up for just so-so responses from her audiences.  That's really too bad!

Please take the time to study what you do and what kind of puppets would best match up with your audiences and shows. Let's make the performing easier on you and more enjoyable for those who watch us!
Mark   markwade@kidshowvent.com
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Note from Mr. D:  Mark Wade will be one of the four vents featured in the 2012-B set of Hall of Fame coins due to be released in about 2 weeks.  I'm accepting advance reserve orders now.

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