Improvised Puppetry: Interview with Jennifer Jordan
What excites you when it comes to improvised puppetry?
Improvised puppetry has so many possibilities. The fact that puppetry opens up possibilities which are restricted in human improv by the laws of physics. I also love the different sides of improvisers which get revealed when performing through a puppet – that tiny distancing has the effect of releasing some really weird, wonderful and surprising GOLD.
Can you describe a particularly magical moment from a workshop or show involving puppets?
A friendship scene between a big puppet and a small puppet which ended with the line ‘OK, hop in my mouth and let’s go’. It was a tiny thing but so delightful and oddly sweet as well as being totally bizarre.
What other artists or companies, improv or otherwise have inspired you to use puppets in your work?
Jim Henson. Everything he’s done is so inspiring, there’s so much heart in each creature and incredible attention to detail with tiny otherworldly creatures in the background of a ‘main scene’.
In the improv world, the intro for Neverfolk by Unmade Theatre really had an impact and I think actually set me off on my own puppet-improv journey. They had all kinds of knick-knacks on stage just as set dressing but they would tell a 10ish minute mini tale at the start and use the various knick-knacks as characters and scenery to instantly visualize the story being told. It’s one of the most beautiful and inspiring things I’ve seen in improv for me personally.
How do you feel online improv interacts with improv puppetry?
There is SO much fun to be had with the screen 🙂
What is your advice for someone wanting to get started using puppets in their improv?
Just pick something up – anything. A pen, a bedcover, the remains of a deliveroo…and play with it. Experiment with what gives it life – how does a pizza box show happiness/disappointment/ennui? Simple movements and noises rooted in emotion are the key
A being from another planet who only understands tweet-length sentences is interested in taking your course – how will you describe it to them?
You get to make up fun scenes and unique characters using your hands and weird stuff lying around the house.
Jennifer Jordan teaches our online Improvised Puppetry course which starts on November 11th at 7.30pm GMT.