Episode 43: Everything About Puppets

Creepy & Historical World of British Puppets.

Victoria and Albert Museum has extensive material relation to the history of puppetry in Britain

Romans and Italians have a loooong history of puppets. France had them in the 1300 and it is thought that monks and priests used puppets to spread Bible stories to the masses

  • But in Britain, puppets really came on the scene between 1500 to 1700
  • Wealthy households got higher quality shows. Travelling shows were more like the Punch and Judy youtube show I’ve posted.
    • High pitched voice for punch spoken through a tin cone  and wildly inappropriate behavior by Punch.
  • Earliest in London
    • puppeteers made their living by performing all over the country.
      • Most popular were great exchanges of batinado (beatings with a stick) and a very loose plot.
    • 1561 the Duchess of Suffolk recorded paying ‘two men who played upon the puppets’
    • According to a 17th century poem by Samuel Butler, fireworks were used with puppet plays including the devil to show the dangers of hellfire.
  • By the 18th century, puppet shows in London were fashionable adult entertainment.
    • In 1710 Martin Powell’s puppets from Dublin opened a theater in London.
      • Plays were remade
      • Satires of public figures.

Royale de Luxe – Giant Marionettes

The Giant Marionettes of Royal de Luxe

BBC Royale de Luxe

Europa.eu Giant Marionettes

  • Founder and current director, Jean-Luc Courcoult teamed up with some musicians and actors to start his extraordinary open-air theatre show in the French city of Aix-en-Provence.
  • Each giant, built with light and flexible poplar wood,
  • Controlled on a system of hydraulic pulleys and levers
  • By 20 to 40 members of the Royal de Luxe troupe, called Lilliputians.
  • Members of the company come from all walks of life, seduced by Courcoult’s wizardry, they are inventors, poets, stuntmen, theatre technicians and scrap-dealers, most of whom move between a technical and performance role.