I’ve been keeping less of a complete journal of the Sidekick Project recently because there haven’t been many developments really (I posted a short clip on my new company website). I’ve continued working on the same puppet for a long time now, but I’m apparently good enough to move on. I’m starting to work on the pictured shadow puppet. It’s a lot simpler than the string puppets, but it still takes a lot of manual dexterity and adapting to the correct way to hold it. I’m concentrating on being able to move two sticks independently in one hand at the moment. Like all the other forms, getting a natural-looking walk comes from moving the whole body, not just the hands – the puppet’s steps are the same as the puppeteer’s.
We had a workshop in Chinese opera technique last week, which was very enjoyable. I was too busy doing it to get any photos. We learnt female character movement, hand positions, and walking. The same principles from these (head movement in relation to hand movement for example, and cross-lateral movement in walking) apply to the puppets.
Today was a public performance by the company at the APA Amphitheatre – not directly by the Sidekick Project, but by Wong Sifu’s company. It was nice to see some of the puppet scenes we’ve done being performed with surtitles. There were a lot of problems with the general design and execution of the performance, and the technical aspects, but the skill of the puppetry was good in spite of everything else. There were a few impressive tricks that I hadn’t seen before – particularly quick changes. Some of the string puppets have a mechanism where they somehow flip inside out to reveal a different character or costume. This is also the first time I’d seen the rod puppets performed. They did a funny scene from Journey to the West, but it was kind of static and dialogue-based.
Sidekick Project in General
I’ll be carrying on with a less regular journal for now, unless there’s more new content to discuss.