We are happy to welcome Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers to the 4 Foam Fingers series. You will quickly realize from the replies to the series below they understand very well that the “magic” of puppetry often times comes from your own life experiences and influences. Enjoy!
1 – Where did you get your start in Puppetry? Was there a moment where you knew puppets would consume your life?
Like many kids we started with a cardboard box stage in the basement. Our mom had even made us some hand-made Cookie Monster Puppets. Years later; my brother, Erik, got reintroduced to puppetry by Andrew and Bonnie Periale (Perry Alley Theatre) who taught a course in puppetry during his last year at college. After a few years of sporadically making puppets for craft fairs and performing short shows in pairs, all three of us created a full length show together, “The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.” We rented the town hall, did our own advertisement, and had our friends sell tickets. We had no idea how many people would attend but almost 300 people showed up! The success of that show was what really confirmed that puppetry would be a major part of our lives.
2 – Do you have a favorite moment in your career, or a project that you feel defines your body of work?
3 – Where do you draw character inspiration from? Do you have a set way of creating or do you allow spontaneity to take over?
Character voices can come from past influences as well. For example, our Headless Horseman has a strong Norm MacDonald accent.
During the puppet construction phase, some characters will come out just like we had imagined while others evolve as we build them; sometimes for the better but we also have a bin of puppets labeled “mutants.” I often do a rough sketch before starting a puppet just to solidify an idea in my mind but I don’t worry too much about veering from that either intentionally or unintentionally.
4 – Name one tip you would give an aspiring puppet builder / performer?
You can reach the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers:
I’m a fleece and fur flying, video game playing, metal loving, princess party having, man of many talents. Living just outside of NYC on the Island of Long.
Enjoy your life! No matter how many times people shake their head, always remain true to yourself.