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Blair Marshall
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Inner circle
Montreal, Canada
3640 Posts

Profile of Blair Marshall
Hi folks,

This is my first time visiting this part of the Café and I have a question.

Backgound...I have always enjoyed puppets and vent but never included them into my shows until I went full-time magic 12 years ago and created several new shows for children. Most of my shows have one or more puppets in them now ie. Halloween has a witch and a pumpkin. I also have a nice collection of characters. I have never considered myself a true vent, more a puppeteer, but seems some folks consider me one. At present in my shows the puppets are used to advance the theme, or move a storyline along. I do not do vent "skits" per se.

Recently I have had inquiries about a full vent "show" whatever that is (for children, and for corporate). I have looked around and I see vents mainly pulling puppet after puppet out and a "skit" being performed with them. Does anyone do a show where there is a continuous storyline or idea being used? I'm looking at the 30/45 minute length for myself.

Your thoughts and input would be appreciated

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Inner circle
5006 Posts

Profile of TonyB2009
In the new year I am hoping to tour what I call a one-man panto. It will be advertised as a puppet show. It will open with me in a nightshirt waking up and telling my dog that we are going to a party that night. But the dog is missing. So the next hour will be spent looking for the dog. Various puppets will help me, and at the end I find the dog, and the show ends. The story isn't very strong but it gives some impetus to the show.
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Inner circle
1633 Posts

Profile of tacrowl
Blair -
There are several reasons for the multiple puppet act. For kids shows, the attention span is shorter, so that allows the vent to change things up. Usually, however it is the result of having a puppet with a poorly defined character. After a six to eight minutes they run out of script and so they switch to another puppet.

Examples of defined characters would be Ken Groves' George, CW and Howard - Ken can do over 45 minutes with each. Willie Tyler only uses Lester, etc.

As for a defined story line - sure. My feeling is a show without an overarching theme isn't a show. It has to have a logical flow or it becomes a mess the audience can't follow. I use a simple flow for my corporate shows. The summer reading program is another. Steve Petra is a master at creating chaos with puppets and having the action escalate throughout.

If you have any specifics I can be of help with, feel free to reach out - I'll do what I can to help.
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

Blair Marshall
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Inner circle
Montreal, Canada
3640 Posts

Profile of Blair Marshall
Thanks Tom and Tony,

I actually checked out your business "products" site Tom just a day ago. Also, many thanks for your offer to assist. I actually also have connections within the comedy scene here in town and just had breakfast with one of them this morning. I was able to quiz him on what the "scene" was like for vents here in town. So am really debating if I would want to break in an act.

Again thank-you!

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Profile of damien666
Check out some of David Strassman theatre shows..
They involve a story line or theme throughout..
For corporates - it's often tough to do a 'play'.. Often the stage and lighting is not ideal and often the attention span or focus is not where it needs to be to pull off a full beginning middle and end show..
They tend to react better to the traditional formula that you eluded to where it is short skits and multiple puppets. Also, if there are drinkers - it's tough to stick to a scripted story or play when you need to put hecklers in their place..

But if you can make it work - that would be awesome!
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Profile of ProfessorMagicJMG
You might look at incorporating different *kinds* of puppets. Mouth puppets, whisper puppets like bunny in the hat, spring puppets, and the Axtell Magic Drawing Board.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Clarke's 3rd Law

"Any sufficiently primitive technology can mystify a postmodern audience." - JMG's Corollary to Clarke's 3rd Law
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