While Hurricane Irene was coming up the coast towards us here in Connecticut, I thought about entertainments which need no electricity, and how I could help entertain my 6-year-old niece if the power went out. I came up with toy theater, little paper-doll puppets in a little box theater. So the day before the hurricane hit I built a little cardboard theater (based mostly on this tutorial I found) and on the day of, my niece and I made some puppets and a backdrop and put on a little show for the rest of the family. I left the story up to her (she also made the bulk of the puppets while I was painting the backdrop) and she immediately knew what she wanted to do: a cat traveling back in time to the dinosaur age. Needless to say, it was a hit with the family.
Now I’m thinking I want to do another one! It was fun and it seems like a fun and easy way to try out some little ideas. I’ve decided that my next toy theater project will be based on the Noh play “Nue“. I thought Noh would make a good toy theater project because there are rarely more than two characters onstage at once. It will be fun to try to capture the atmosphere of the play with these very limited means. I’ll post some pictures, maybe even a video, although I don’t have any puppetry training or anything so I don’t know how good a puppeteer I am. But I guess we’ll see!