Puppet Origin Stories: Leng

by fingerplayers

In 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, we spoke to the Makers and Designers of the puppets we have in The Finger Players (TFP), to create the repository that is the Puppet Origin Stories – a humble effort to highlight the background, and the making and design history of these puppets. We hope that this can be a continued endeavour at TFP, and we hope that you can go on this journey with us.

Featured in: My Friend, A Japanese Soldier, 2012

This puppet was made by Oliver Chong and much more straightforward to create, as compared to his previous creations. Before Oliver became a theatre-multi-hyphenate, he was actually the owner of Red Mushroom Design, a design company that specialized in graphic, interior and product design. This was also where he got his foundation in anatomy of joints.

When Oliver first started building puppets, he was not aware that the insides of puppets were made from foam and papier mache. He was also limited to working with the tools that were available in the office, which were good for woodworking and sponge crafting, but not ideal for working with certain materials, such as plastic or metals aside from aluminium.

Production photo from My Friend, A Japanese Soldier, 2012

Oliver knew that Leng had to be likeable in spirit, and he also wanted to create a puppet that did not depart too far from the company’s style. TFP’s usual style was that the puppets rarely had mouths, because this would allow the puppet to be more neutral, and allow for the audience to have greater room for interpretation.

Maker’s Note: The last venture of Red Mushroom Design was actually a set of collectibles from a graphic novel that was written by Drama Box Artistic Director. Kok Heng Leun. These collectibles participated in a convention, and Oliver even looked for factories to produce these toys. However the project didn’t come into fruition eventually, and the graphic novel was left unpublished. 

Champion this puppet and its story today by making a donation HERE.