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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Punch and busking (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Kevin Mc Lean
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Kevin Mc Lean
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Hi All,
I'm not sure that this is the right place - but it is technically busking.

A lot of the old Punch and Judy shows were performed in a booth at the seaside for a hat. Sometimes (but not always) there'd be two people: the puppeteer (Professor) and the person who gathered the crowd and collected the hat (Bottler).

However, this was not always the case. I was wondering? How did they gather the hat otherwise? Does anyone know? I haven't seen a puppeteer busk besides a dvd of one guy with a marionette on a sidewalk and that doesn't involve a booth.

Are there any puppeteer buskers who can tell me?
Joe Howard
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With Punch and Judy, there is almost always a bottler. It's tradition.

He or she usually collects while the show is going on, although sometimes after the show they make a hat pitch.

Otherwise, you just come out from behind the booth, thank everyone for watching and make your hat pitch. Remember to keep an eye on your booth so someone doesn't sneak in the back and take stuff.

You could also build a collection box with a lock into the booth and have people drop money in the "slot" as you perform. (a trickle) The Puppetbike in Chicago does that, but it's a continuous show.

Joe H
Kevin Mc Lean
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Kevin Mc Lean
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Thank you Joe,
that helps a lot. I'm sort of a one man show at the moment and I want to get practice at Punch and Judy - so (once I'm up to standard) the street seems to be the go.

I was thinking of having (another) Punch puppet pop out from a slit in the booth with a change bag or similar glued to his hands and collect at the end of the show.

Would that work in your experience?

Regards,


Kevin.
MagiCol
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What about this suggestion? Some of your spectators are going to be children who stop to watch, with their parents. The children suspend reality to see life in the puppet itself and would like to meet one, I reckon. So walking around with the puppet to meet to the children with their adults should endear the show to the children. Whatever, How about at the end of the show you come out from the back wearing a hand puppet with a bag/hat in its hand and you walk around speaking as the puppet and hatting people. That way should get more people contributing, I think, than waiting for them to come up to the front to contribute. Regards, Colin C. Schwamm
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amerigo
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Regarding Joe Howard's post. I live just outside Chicago ,and was wondering what is The Puppetbike?

Best
Amerigo
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Joe Howard
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Hi Amerigo,

I saw the Puppetbike on S Michigan Ave across the street from the Chicago Art Institute. It's a "mobile" puppet show. The booth is attached to a bicycle. The puppets dance to music. and people drop money in the money box. I had heard of it before, but had never seen it, then I ran into it by accident on a recent trip to Chi-town.

I have a couple of photos. If you're interested.

Joe H
Joe Howard
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Kevin,

Personally I like the people to see the "man behind the curtain". Also, I think you are more in control of the crowd ( and your money) if you are standing there. I like Colins idea of having a puppet collect with you. I really don't busk with my P&J show very often, (mostly paid gigs), but the times I have, I have come out front to thank everyone for watching and make my pitch. It worked fine for me. Let me know how you make out, will ya ?

Joe H
Kevin Mc Lean
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Kevin Mc Lean
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Hi Joe and All,

Thanks for all the info. I can see that you mainly have to go hat with a pitch or trickle with a locked receptacle.

Kind of makes me wish I had a bottler. Especially from a control viewpoint.

I think I'll try a pitch and hat from myself at the end. I might put it in rhyme so it's in the spirit of the show, and I might use the baby with the 'hat' in my arms for the kids and to reassure them he got out of the dustbin.

I'll definitely let you know how I make out.

Best Wishes,


Kevin
Pokie-Poke
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Yes make it rhyme and make it part of the show. hat lines should be part of the show, not just taged on to the end. And a dusty babby would be cool.
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The Adventure cont...
Bill Palmer
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Babby?
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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Dynamike
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You never seen one before, Bill? Here is a dancing one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvVQFezVXFc&feature=related
Tony James
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Some interesting ideas suggested here. They'd pull a little money but not a living.

You'd starve in the UK if you busked Punch solo. By the time you were out of the frame with your collection bag or box the audience would have legged it. A busked show is a two hander. Your bottler has to be good and know how to bottle.

They need to work from the outside in and your show needs to be long - say 40 or 50 minutes which is a killer in any weather. Too long really but that's the point.

People will not stay that long and move on which is exactly what the bottler needs to shake up the audience and allow him or her to get at fresh people. You bottle from the outside in remember. That way you keep a manageable small tight group and collect from the leavers as well as the joiners.

So a bottler really needs the people to join, stay awhile and leave creating a flow.

In fact, when you think about it, busking a Punch show is the opposite of working on fee where your booker expects and judges you on the size of audience you can pull and your ability to hold that audience to the end.

Two quite different markets.
Tony James

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James Arnott
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Actually Tony is (once again) quite wrong here.

It is perfectly possible for one person to perform the show, collect the money, and take a reasonable sum. I (and others) perform that way, and I did so just the other day.

An example:

Arrived at the site (by a Café in a park in South London) to set the show two hours before the show so people know it's happening. Large A board sign etc so they know the show starts at 3.00

At 2.45 loud circus music goes on, with announcements at regular intervals. At 3.00 start a simple musical introduction to the show with various puppets clapping along, opening and closing curtains, cleaning and setting the stage etc. Ending on an announcement that the Punch and Judy Man will come round to collect their money - £1 per person, for which they get to see the show and recieve a cut out Punch show printed on card to take home and make (cost about £0.01 each).

Go out and collect the money. You can see who has paid by who has got a piece of card, which also act as advertising details.

Then start the show. At the end you say "Would you like Mr Punch to come out and say hallo to you all" (note say Hallo rather than Goodbye - i.e. cheap non payers will leave if they think the show is ending, but not if it is continuing).

You come out with Punch on one hand, and the collecting box in the other. Remind the audience that newcomers haven't paid and that your only payment for the show comes from them, your audience. And of course this is a perfect time to introduce merchandising (finger puppets, badges, simple string puppetsand the like) which will all greatly increase your takings for the day.

Working this way you can take good sums of money relativley easily, and of course you don't have to split your fee with a bottler, so it is all yours.
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