I’m taking a master class with John Tartaglia

Tonight was my first class with John Tartaglia of Sesame Street, Avenue Q, Johnny and the Sprites, and Shrek. He is teaching a master class in puppetry. I am in the beginning class, and while I have taught puppetry for 6 years in a high school, I know I can always learn more. First thing I learned is I am an extremely stiff, arthritic pupppeteer! I need to do some exercises to warm up and to stretch. Second thing I learned is I am short and fat. The studio has one mirror wall, and I was hoping it was a “fun house mirror”, but it wasn’t. We learned eye contact, lip synching, and posture. Then we combined those with movement, all while looking in the mirror. Yowzer, I have to work on moving and working a puppet at the same time. When I taught it, we were confined behind a stage, and didn’t have to walk from one part of the stage to another. I am much better sitting than walking around. Everyone in class did really well. John took us through many exercises. We all worked our way up to performing in front of a camera while watching a monitor. The nutsy part is that everything connected with camera work is reversed. So, I have my work cut out for me. I need to practice this week to redeem myself for a less than stellar performance. Fortunately, as I know in life, most people were concentrating so much on their own performance, that no one was paying attention to my performance, except for John and his two assistants. I think they were watching everyone with a critical eye. My homework is to: a) prepare 1 piece of lipsync to a song, b) develop 3 characters complete with personality and voice. Our class was 3 hours this week, and will be three hours next Friday as well. We will also be going to see John’s new piece “Imaginocean” as a class, and get to go backstage to talk with the puppeteers. Cool beans.


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