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Types of puppets

In puppet theatre, actors act out stories with puppets - a seemingly obvious statement that is only partially true in 21st century puppetry. The puppet actor is a living character in most performances, and there are countless puppet theatre forms and techniques to show the story played out with puppets. Below is a brief summary of the types of puppet we work with. The diagrams accompanying the descriptions are also shown on the performance sheets, indicating the techniques used in the production.

Glove puppet
Glove puppet
It is the most common form of puppetry with lower movements. The puppeteer puts the figure on his hands to bring it to life. This type of puppet is extremely agile and its charm lies in the fact that its proportions are not those of a human being, but of a human hand. It is usually seen in the form of a paravan in puppet theatre.
Rod puppet
Rod puppet
Also a lower movement puppet show. The puppeteer uses three rods (two hand rods and one head rod) to move the figure above the screen. This type of puppet can be used for quite delicate movements, thanks to the fact that the head can be tilted forwards and backwards as well as left and right, thanks to a mechanism (gapit) inserted in the puppet head.
Marionette
Marionette
Puppet show with upper movement. The puppeteer usually brings his or her character to life above the stage, standing on a bridge. He can do this by holding a wooden cross in his hand and moving his puppet with strings tied to it. The number of cords depends on the courage of the director and the actor. A further type of this technique is the puppet with a guide rod. In this case, a rigid metal rod leads from the puppet's head to the cross, so that the body can be moved directly, while the rest of the body is controlled by the actor using cords.
Mask performance
Mask performance
A form of puppetry in which the actor performs with body on stage, but their face or whole head is covered by a mask. We also use the full-figure version, where not only the actor's head but their whole body is hidden. In this form of theatre, elements of movement art and puppet theatre are mixed in the puppet actor's performance.
Bunraku
Bunraku
The ancestor of this puppet type that is moved from the back originated in Japan. The puppets are up to the size of a human being, capable of accurately representing human movement, and ideally controlled by three puppeteers standing behind the puppet. The main puppeteer moves the puppet's head with one hand and its right hand with the other. One of the assistant puppeteers controls the puppet's left hand and the other the legs. Nowadays, table puppetry is also called bunraku. These are figures, usually small, moved on a table with or without a stick.
Black Theatre
Black Theatre
It is also a puppet type that is moved from behind, except that the puppeteers are not visible behind the puppets. On a dark stage, the actors move in black and hold their stick-mounted figures in a plane of light, giving the illusion that the puppet is moving on its own.
Shadow Theatre
Shadow Theatre
This is a form of puppetry where the audience sees only the shadow images of the characters on stage. The figures, cut out of hard paper, wood, leather, are moved by the puppeteer between a light source and the stretched canvas. There is also a version where the actors use their hands or bodies to create shadow figures. A game of limitless possibilities.
Giant puppet
Giant puppet
The most common puppets are the so-called giant puppets, also known as walking puppets, which are spectacular features of festival openings, historical or vintage parades, street performances. However, they are also used in theatre performances. These puppets are usually made of lightweight material, articulated and moved by the puppeteer using cords, ropes or rods, which provide support and movement. In some cases, the puppet is brought to life by the coordinated movement of enlarged parts made up of different pieces, in effect a gigantic and improved bunkraku technique.
Object game
Object game
A puppet show is a form of puppetry in which the puppeteer does not play with made-up puppets, but with everyday objects. There is no object around us that cannot become a character in a puppet show. Perhaps everyone remembers this from their childhood.