Puppeteer Tips #2: Gravity
"If we manage to give the sense of weight and gravity to our puppets we trick the brain of our audience and we win!" once said Mottram in one of his illuminating workshops and he is sooo right!
Puppetry most important thing is weight and gravity but why?
That's because when the puppet looks like having weight then it looks alive and independent from the puppeteer: the audience thinks they're seeing a living figure and will believe that the inanimate object is actually doing things, walking and so on. And they will be transported in the magic of the story faster than the speed of light. That's when we win over the brain.
It is not always easy to give this sense of weight: with small, light and simple puppets is much more difficult. But not impossible.
With bigger wooden marionettes it is easier because the gravity kind of comes from above and you just have to translate it towards the ground through the strings.
It takes a lot of practice, and a lot of practice and a lot of practice to master weight: I often play a little fall on the floor or a jump from a higher level at the beginning of the show to get the audience see the gravity trick and transport them into the magic of puppetry.