Before the question What is puppet theater, basically it could be said that it is a spectacle that tells a story through an inanimate figure, which moves thanks to the effort of a person, the so-called ‘manipulator’. These are the differences with traditional theater because, as in any other show, the goal is to communicate ideas, emotions and feelings before an audience, whether children or adults.
Where does the word ‘puppet’ come from?
It is not very clear where the word ‘puppet’ comes from in Spanish, but it is more likely that it refers to some tabs that were put into the mouth puppeteers, with which they made a whistling sound: ‘ti-ti’. However, in other languages the word comes from the Latin ‘pupa, pupae’ (doll); And hence ‘puppet’, in English; ‘Puppen’, in German, or ‘pupo’, in Italian. On the other hand, in France they are called ‘marionnettes’ to all the puppets (not only to those of threads, as in Spanish), due to some figures of the Virgin with which were realized religious representations, the ‘petites Maries’.
Types of puppets
There are puppets of infinite shapes and sizes, from finger puppets to traditional giants and big heads, but these four techniques are the most used:
Thread puppet or puppet: The puppet is usually a wooden figure, with head, trunk and articulated extremities, which are connected with threads to a cross, with which their movements are controlled. It is one of the oldest techniques, and until the last century was possibly the most employed in the world.
Glove puppet: The head of this puppet is usually bulky and of a resistant material, while the body, of cloth, is where the puppeteer puts his hand … like a glove. Hence his name, obviously!