Puppet Origin Stories: Moon Baby
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.
This puppet was made by Myra Loke, for the community tour of Homecoming in 2018. For this puppet, Myra wanted to work with a variety of textures because she was aware that it would be interacting with audience members of various needs and ages.
The head was fashioned out of a huge Styrofoam ball, layered with balloon holders that protruded, and completed with a finishing of bedding. She also painted over the protruding balloon holders, or the “craters”, to create another texture. Lycra was used to cover the body, because this fabric would reflect light when the puppet moved. In order to create different textures using the same material, she quilted a few segments to create depth.
As Myra had wanted this puppet to be quite abstract, she took a while to decide on the design of the puppet’s eyes. She didn’t want two eyes because she felt that would be too human-like, so she eventually settled for a one-eyed puppet. This was so that the puppeteer would still have a point of reference while manipulating it. This eye was darkened with a shade of deep yellow.
The Moon Baby shown here is actually a second draft. The first draft had a body that was much more angular and skeletal, as Myra had wanted to challenge herself by breaking away from her usual preferred round motifs. However, everyone in the design team felt that having a rounded body worked better for the aesthetics of the production, so eventually foam was added to make Moon Baby appear chubbier. This resulted in Moon Baby being heavier than how Myra had initially envisioned, and so to make it easier for the lone puppeteer, she had to make the rod thicker and rougher by boosting it with foam and tape.
The design of the costume was a one-piece jumpsuit, which meant the puppeteer would have to exert more force to maintain the stance of this puppet. Though this would make it more challenging for the puppeteer, Myra had insisted on it as she believed it was essential to the aesthetics of the production.
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