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Creating Puppet Solidarities

Puppetry is an ongoing negotiation between human and nonhuman. Puppets play out the way things are, but also the way things can be; and in that regard, they allow us to see our positionality and imagine worlds beyond ourselves. This series showcases myriad shapes and styles—hand puppets, rod puppets, nearly two-dimensional paper mâché forms, wearable cardboard constructions—and the ways in which these puppets, whether representational or abstract, can form solidarities among humans. In turn, this series examines how these solidarities change our relationships to ourselves, other humans, human constructs, animals, the environment, and all nonhuman life. When we form solidarities—commitments to partner as equally important components —with puppets, what can we create that is more-than-human and more-than-puppet?

Drawn horseshoe crab that reads "We are all Invited" on its back.
Crabs as Ancestors, Cardboard as Collaborator
Essay

Crabs as Ancestors, Cardboard as Collaborator

31 January 2022

Can a new holiday hatch humans closer to freedom? Eli Nixon's homage proposal messes with time, place, and puppets towards building inter- and intra-species solidarities.

A puppet booth with two puppets in the window.
The Brutalities of Mr. Punch
Essay

The Brutalities of Mr. Punch

27 January 2022

Leda Farrow considers the history, legacy, and symbolic potential of Mr. Punch, a hand puppet characterized by his violent acts.

Several people sitting in a field watching a puppet show.
Bringing Trouble: An Account of a Travelling Bicycle Puppet Show
Essay

Bringing Trouble: An Account of a Travelling Bicycle Puppet Show

25 January 2022

In 2021, Ian McFarlane and Laura Stinson of North Barn Theatre launched into a bicycle tour that brought a puppet circus to rural communities across Nova Scotia. They discuss the creation and performance of their show, which joyously embraced troublemaking as a path to activism.

Several performers with large puppets standing in a field.
Ground Lessons: Performing with the Potato People at Bread and Puppet
Essay

Ground Lessons: Performing with the Potato People at Bread and Puppet

26 January 2022

Denise Rogers Valenzuela shares the way that learning to perform improvised crowd scenes with large, flat puppets—called naked population puppets or potato people—encourages an embodied practice that resists individualism.

Two people wearing costumes and holding signs that say "Bush" and "World".
Creating Puppet Solidarities
Essay

Creating Puppet Solidarities

24 January 2022

Sarah Plummer kicks off the puppet series by introducing the series contributors and exploring the way their work highlights puppetry’s capacity to form solidarities among humans and nonhumans.

Series are collections of content curated around a specific theme. HowlRound works with curators to develop topical pieces meant to spotlight current events and happenings within the commons.