Sunday, June 22, 2008

On Puppoetics

It's been some time since I discussed puppoetics at length- the integration of puppetry with poetics.

My chief concern is particularly from the 'Southeast Asian American perspective.'

And maybe the 'Southeast Asian American speculative poet's perspective,' but let's keep it a little simple.

The concept is easy enough, no?

But it is in the execution more complicated issues emerge.

In a best case scenario, puppoetics opens unique expressive opportunities drawing from the best strengths of both forms.

There are very unique challenges for a viable performance. But part of the joy of any artform is in challenges like these.

To note:

Today, traditional puppetry in Southeast Asia is used predominantly for the retelling of traditional folk tales or public service narratives against particular social dangers facing the community.

There are few documented cases where puppetry is used for contemporary, original narratives like adaptations of short stories, novels or dramatic plays, particularly in politically sensitive regions.

Puppetry involving contemporary poetics in Southeast Asia and Southeast Asian Americans is even more rare.

I've not seen instances of this, personally, but this doesn't necessarily there isn't prior precedent.

But it is an area in which my curiosity has steadily grown. has begun gathering performances of other cultures and communities bridging poetry and puppetry.

For me, the issue must be the same as for graphopoetics: engagement should create new form.

The point is not to make a puppet merely reciting poems, or to recite poems while holding a puppet.

Quality engagement with puppoetics must allow new entry points into the material that would not otherwise be possible merely as a puppet performance alone, or a poetry recital alone.

I'm very intrigued by Blanco y Dorado as an expression of what might be possible for Lao American poetics.

With the current directions puppetry is taking in both traditional and avant garde practice, this creates additional options for expression.

The work at Heart of the Beast Theater and Andrew Kim utterly fascinate me.

When I see Andrew's images of the famous Rain Bear, I admit: the wheels in my head start turning about how a Lao American puppet, and one engaged with poetic expression, might be executed.

A while back, I sent a copy of the Tuk-Tuk Diaries to a team of aspiring puppeteers looking for a project to do involving poetry and puppetry.

Unfortunately, of the many entries they received, I wasn't accepted, but I do think the potential is still there, as well as for On The Other Side Of The Eye. But really, I'm particularly interested in adapting some of my newer work these days.

Ruminating, with more to follow in the future.

1 comment:

Walk-Minh Nguyen said...

Hm, can't play the video, dude. It stops after 2 seconds.