In so many words, I will not be able to put down in writing my experience at the National Puppetry Festival this past week. It was my first, and I am hooked for life.
Puppeteers are a very unique type of human. I have met quite a few of them, starting two and a half years ago, with the introduction to my lovely Erin Orr. She opened up this world of people to me, leading me to work with her, Lake Simons, Rima Fand and many other lovely, incredibly talented and generous people on my Wolfy film. But this past week, I got it in a full dose, morning to night, five consecutive days.
Puppeteers like to breath life into any object, animate the simplest of things to the most complex. Yes, I knew that already. I’ve done it all my life without realizing it, and also without any reciprocal action from those around me. I didn’t think anything was wrong with me (I thought something was wrong with them); I just knew that I was different, and that was that. These past five days, I have found that there are others like me, humans who respond to scarf or a simple stuffed puppet, with a genuine spirit of play, awe, tenderness and joy. I was shocked. I mean, we’re talking adults here, and they love it, they add sounds, they look at how it’s made, they’re curious, and they are really attentive people. This bunch is the most supportive, loving and accepting group of individuals (and audience) I have ever met.
Two years ago I performed a short Wolfy piece live at Lake’s living room, in front of eight people. Last week I performed it live, including singing (!!!), for the first time in front of a large audience. Even though I consider myself a filmmaker-puppeteer, I am branching out and I love it. I couldn’t have done it without their support.
I felt at home.
I’ve crossed the ocean with a dream and one suitcase. I have tons of stuff now, and I can finally, finally say, I have found my family.
Make puppets. Play. Share.