The Puppets of Prague
Well, not just Prague, all of the Czech Republic loves puppets! But really, who doesn't love a good puppet show right?? Ever since the string marionettes were introduced to the region, around 1563, the people have really made them a part of their culture. Early puppet shows travelled from village to village performing for the people. The audience was mostly peasants because the shows tended to make fun of the monarchy and nobles. It was a way of commenting on the world and the news of the day in a friendly and joking way. Also, it told the legends and folk tales that carried on the Czech tradition to the younger generations. The families of puppeteers would pass on their beloved puppets to the next generations and many of these original puppets are now featured in museums. Puppeteers are now headliners in theaters and no longer roam the countryside and every June the city of Prague hosts the World Festival of Puppet Art!
We're going to have a go at making our own puppets- both the marionette and hand puppet! Hand puppets I've made but the marionette is a new one - wish me luck and read on to see how it goes.....
A String MarionetteFor this project you will need:
- sticks for controlling wand
- cardboard tubes
- styrofoam ball
- string or yarn
- glue or stapler
- skewer or something to make holes in head
2. Cut a slit about 1 inch from top of cardboard tube. This is one arm hole. Repeat on other side and slip a piece of felt through both holes to make arms.
3. Get a long piece of yarn and wrap that around the piece of felt that is inside the tube with the ends coming out the top.
4. Use the skewer to push that yarn through the styrofoam ball and out the top of the head. Tie a knot and now the head is attached to the body.
5. If you are using a short tube, cut out some legs from another piece or cardboard and attach to finish the body. If using a longer tube, make a long slit and staple the legs at the bottom and top of the slit.
6. Tie the two sticks in an X shape to make the wand and wrap string to hold it together. Tie the string from the head to the middle and a string from each hand to the controller.
7. Draw faces, clothes, whatever you want on the puppet and HAVE FUN!!
The marionette was a little involved but fun. We also made hand puppets out of white paper bags and markers. Then my kids and some friends put on an impromptu puppet show!