mari lwyd mark II

Currently making another version of the table-top Mari puppet. The first… shown above… was thrown together quickly to get a ‘feel’ for the character. Operating the trial puppet with Ann in front of a mirror, with contributions from James, clarified what worked and what didn’t. (A short glimpse of the session may be seen in Pete Telfer’s film, HERE.) However, some of the most effective movement sequences we achieved are not on view in the clip, and they were ones in which the motions of  torso and legs were created by manipulating the shroud.  Less was more! The absolute best was when we worked a sequence of the Mari crawling forward, a bundle of rags with the head only just visible. To this end I’ve a plan to make a more bulky shroud, to aid such moments. I’m mindful of the effectiveness of the padded kimonos in Bunruku puppetry, the garments skilfully handled to suggest the movements beneath them.

Above: artistic director of MWCO James Slater, and lead puppeteer Ann Prior, take a break from puppet duties.

Above: the pelvis and legs of the new puppet under construction, whittled from pieces of firewood salvaged from a stack in our barn! Nothing very refined here, but the joints are directional and have enough resistance to hold positions unsupported, which will help the puppeteers a lot.

My overall notion is for the puppets in the production to look and feel quite roughly made. I’ve given the wood a first coat of black emulsion, and now I’m ready to construct the spine, ribcage and head. The head is to have a moveable lower jaw, so that our Mari can gape! Like this!


4 thoughts on “mari lwyd mark II

  1. As you know I was / am a huge fan of her late father and I think it’s AMAZING how she makes financial matters coherent and interesting in the morning. Did you know that Donald Swann was, I believe, Sesame’s first Vice President?
    I love to think of you ‘giggling with pleasure’, keep smiling!

  2. She makes me think of a coy girl, hiding her ‘prettyness’ under her hair, or Snow Whites ‘kind’ visiting witch trying not to disclose the poisoned apple. A wonderful duality of those goddesses who bring life in one hand and death in the other, like Inanna.
    Scrummy and I loved the video, Jack looks well.
    Love as ever
    B xxx

    • Hello my sweet. Thanks for dropping by. Peter and I are both home working this weekend. I’m making the new Princess maquette for the forthcoming Soldier’s Tale at the Hay Festival. There’s an onstage discussion after the performance. Conductor James Slater, me, Stephanie Flanders… whose father Michael Flanders translated the libretto… and Clemency Burton-Hill is chairing the discussion. Just typing that sentence has made me giggle with pleasure. Who would’ve thought after all these years, eh Bern?

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