The puppet theatre is a specific form of theatre that has a clear purpose and identity
and it is the first visual impact of the puppet theatre that is strongest, it is
often referred to as the ‘designers’ theatre’. Design for the puppet theatre is more
complex than for the drama theatre. The word frequently used for design in the puppet
theatre is ‘scenography’, sceno – graphika. It is, basically, a term used for the
visualisation and physicalisation of an idea, or text, in a performance space, and
the interplay of movement, time, space, light and sound, and, of course, the audience
as collaborator. Usually the nonverbal aspect of the production. The design project
is essential to identify and organise a unified visual style.
The creative puppet theatre offers greater freedom for the designer. We often refer
to scenic action where both puppets and scenery move as much as each other, When
the creative puppet theatre produces works that combine puppets, actors, masks, dance
and mime a far greater understanding of the role and function of the various disciplines
and there effective combination in a production technique where careful consideration
of a single convention, and the avoidance mixed conventions that can destroy the
overall balance of a production.
The designer in the puppet theatre has an additional responsibility. The actor/performer
in the puppet theatre uses the puppet or object to express dramatic ideas, their
bodies are not the means of expression, the dramatic expression takes place elsewhere,
away from the physical being. Therefore, the designer must develop an awareness of
the needs of the actor/performer in terms of a greater understanding of the technical
construction, and the need to ensure that weight and other technical details do not
detract from the focus and concentration of the actor/performer in delivering a meaningful
performance. Ideally the designer should have some experience of moving the puppet
and movement styles to enable them to fully understand the work of the performer.
Most puppet theatre productions lack design, and rarely have an understanding of
the dynamics of space, both that of the performance and audience, and the creation
of a synthesis of creative links, tensions and dynamics between them. Each design
project should ensure that a specific space is created for each production, and should
remain consistent wherever the performance is presented.