Lucy’s USA Puppet Adventure: Day 13 & 14

Day 13: Saturday 11th June 2016
Today was the last day of Beyond the Sock 2016!
During performance class, students had the opportunity to get feedback on the Yes, and… Improvisation performances we that were filmed the day before. This was followed by a rehearsal of the group song and an opportunity to workshop scenes with the two puppetry teachers for the final show that night.

Miss Hannaford’s teacher Noel, helped her create a scene where her puppet Professor McCluckagall was giving a magic demonstration that starts to go wrong! Miss Hannaford got to work with 3 of her classmates as well as Noel and his personal puppet Dawg! Having a chance to puppeteer with Noel and Dawg was a highlight of the week as Dawg is a very famous Dig and goes everywhere Noel goes!

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Towards the end of the class, Miss Hannaford’s group was joined by the other group to rehearse the group song for the first time as one really big group. The whole group means 30 puppeteers and 30 puppets in one very small space in front of the main television camera until it was time to go to Lunch.

After lunch, during the final construction session, students attached the foam skull of the puppet to the head skin and turned the whole puppet the right way out for the first time. Once the body foam had been inserted, it was time to start applying the facial features of the puppet by gluing the eyelid colour onto the eyes with contact cement. Miss Hannaford decided to cover the eyelids of her chicken with a skin tone fabric to represent Dame Maggie Smith who’s brilliant portrayal of Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter films, made the character Miss Hannaford’s favourite character from the Harry Potter series.

The class also constructed and attached the wings to their puppet. It was a very different way of constructing the bones for the wings of the puppet. Normally wooden dowel is used to make arm bones in puppets, but they can be very heavy. Miss Hannaford’s building teacher, Pasha invented a different method that used rigid plastic tubes threaded with nylon cord. The tubes are normally used as sticks for holding up balloons.

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Once the wings were attached, it was time to finish costuming the character. Miss Hannaford managed to finish making the costume the night before and now it was a matter of stitching it to the body of the costume and pinning on the Professor McGonagall brooch.

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The most challenging facial feature Miss Hannaford had to deal with was the red wattle that bends across the face, over the nose. It is made inside out and had to be turned right way around through a very tiny hole cut on the backside. When Miss Hannaford try to turn it through that hole, one whole side got stuck! In the end, Pasha showed Miss Hannaford a trick in turning the wattle where he pushed the fabric from the large end through the hole! It was so much easier than what Miss Hannaford was trying to do.

That night, it was time for the final show in front of a small studio audience. Miss Hannaford got to perform supporting puppet characters in 2 student performances including Commander Splock in a parody of Star Trek. The other performance was as a baby chick in a parody of the film Labyrinth song Dance Magic Dance called Dance Chicken Dance.

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The group song was the big finale of the night!

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After the show, everyone went back the theatre for a big group photo and to say goodbye each other. Miss Hannaford was really excited to get a picture with her teachers Noel, Martin and Pasha with her chicken puppets.

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Day 14: Sunday 12th June 2016
After such an exciting week, today was the sad in that we had to say a final goodbye to all our new friends and fly to our next destination, Los Angeles. We got to the airport in plenty of time for the flight but as soon as we got on the plane for the flight to Houston, everyone had to get off the plane and be moved to different flights because a really big storm was delaying all fights in Houston which meant we would miss our connecting flight to Los Angeles.

Once we changed our flights and got on a new plane direct to LA, but that was at the same time as Dallas airport was hit by an enormous storm that caused even more delays. Eventually we were able to fly to Los Angeles for the last stop of this big puppet adventure.

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