Sunday, March 31, 2013

Animal Band

We recently welcomed Animal Band, a playful new puppet display created by AmeriCorps Museum Educators Alex Balsen and Francesca Montanile. They described their inspiration and process as they worked with the Museum’s collection of Betty Huestis marionettes.

Francesca: We thought a lot about what would grab a kid’s attention and that influenced the decision to go with the animal puppets. We wanted something that was very bright and playful – those were our main guiding principles.

Alex: Francesca had the idea of it being a band and we thought about music that was relevant in the 1920s and 30s. The first thing we did was draw all of the puppets we wanted to use and thought about how they could fit in a band. Then playing around with words, we made it alliterative by putting the bear on the banjo, the monkey on the mandolin… that’s how we figured out the instruments.
Sketch including bear and monkey plus wolf on washboard and skunk on spoons.
Francesca: Alex made awesome mock-up drawings and from those we picked out what props and scenery we needed to make.

Alex: We got excited about making props and Francesca and [AmeriCorps member] Mandy made beautiful instruments that look like something Betty would have made.

Francesca: We hope everyone enjoys it.  I saw one kid stand in front of it and do a dance, which was probably my favorite moment!

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