Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shakespearean Finger Puppets

Rogalski, Michael. Masterpuppet Theater: The World of Shakespeare—At Your Fingertips! Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2010.

As long as we're doing silly things not normally done at Bardfilm, I should review a set of Finger Puppets that the creator was kind enough to send along to be reviewed.

The set includes sixty finger puppets—the kind that are on card stock with holes for you to put your fingers through to make legs for the characters, not the kind that are made of cloth and go over your fingers. That alone adds greater versatility and variety to the characters.

I'm impressed by the choices on the cards. I don't want to give away all the surprises, but I'd like to point out that they're quite clever. I'm particularly fond of Yorick (pictured above). A skull with feet just wouldn't look quite right, so we're given the headless corpse of Yorick instead. I also appreciate Joan la Pucelle making an appearance. You have to be thorough to include any character from 1 Henry VI!

A lot of fun can be had with the cards, whether you're a professor of Shakespeare or a parent or a Shakespeare aficionado. Observe these two short scenes: Richard III's speech from V.iv.6 and Antigonous' last lines from A Winter's Tale (III.iii.53-58):

I'm greatly impressed that the makers included a bear card so that one of Shakespeare's most famous stage directions can be carried out adequately: "Exit, pursued by a bear" (III.iii.58.s.d.).

I did have some trouble using the cards as they're intended. My fingers just won't work properly as legs. But holding the cards and moving them around can be just as effective.

Thanks, Michael Rogalski, for creating this delightful set!

Note: See more examples of films with these finger puppets at Knuckleodeum, the official Masterpuppet Theatre YouTube Channel.

Click below to purchase the set from amazon.com
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).


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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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