Puppet Origin Stories: The Big Bully

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: The Big Bully, 1996

This is the most senior puppet in The Finger Players (TFP). It was created in 1996 for the production of The Big Bully, which was written by one of the Co-Founders of the company, Benjamin Ho.

This puppet was created from household objects, an early foray into object puppetry by the TFP. Its eyes were made of retractable measuring tape, an ingenious way to depict the transition of crying to wailing when the puppeteer pulls on the tape to simulate tears flowing from its eyes. When the puppet stops crying, the tapes can be retracted back. 

L: Version of Big Bully with retractable tape eyes

This puppet was used in the production of The Big Bully, which was also performed at birthday parties to further supplement the company’s income. A vivid memory from co-founder Ong Kian Sin was sitting this puppet on a rolling dolly; and as the puppet and puppeteer were singing songs, they could easily wheel over to the CD player to play songs. In 1996, theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun roped Co-Founders Tan Beng Tian and Ong Kian Sin in, to run a children unit under the wing of the Theatre Practice. This children’s unit was officially named The Finger Players after Benjamin Ho and Lee Wai Ying went onboard

Co-Founder Benjamin Ho

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