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the set is about twenty five feet long....

The set is about twenty-five feet long….

(Click on the pictures for much larger views–)

(note: Impossible to believe but true-Odette, pictured below as the Magic Woman, was rear ended years ago, 1988, only two blocks away from the same spot I was rear end the very night of the day we performed this show. Thing is, today, the 15th of DEC 2016, she went to see yet again another doctor about reoccurring neck pain from her accident! Oy Vey! Clear as a bell?-her accident was 28 years ago=she’s still hurting.What’s the chances that two people acting in this puppet show were rear ended years apart in locations not less than two blocks apart? Maybe, good? I need a beer!)

I’ve been doing puppet shows for the Alachua County Library District for the past 21 years; some have been repeated during this time. I like to encourage reading as I pick my favorite stories-literacy is the point. Thing is, this past show, The Magic Bag, may be one of my last.

The Magic woman wants it to always be cold

The Magic woman wants it to always be cold

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Natu and Lima protest the weather conditions!

Really, I have a job I’d never leave but Old Man Time is making one out of me. The show must go on, and my life, too.

Then again, the show turned me into a frog!

Then again, the show turned me into a frog!

Angela- Lima- is turned into a cat....

Angela- Lima- is turned into a cat….due to our complaints!

I write adaptions of stories to fit what can be done in the venue we use. Always from the get-go, I’ve employed ‘outtakes’ which entail the puppeteer also appearing stage front as actors who represent various puppets seen on stage. These are the most uproarious moments of any puppet show we do, and always involve a ton of confetti throwing for any made up reason.

This was one of those reasons: The Woman likes it to snow!!! Oh My!

This was one of those reasons: The Woman likes it to snow!!! Oh My!

The scripts are always intended to entertain both child and adult alike.

I write the scripts, design the sets, direct the practices and take part in the productions. It’s all a kick.

The river was fun, and the over head as well....and AC unit(s) blew the blue foil drop downs.

The river was fun, and the over head as well…. AC unit(s) blew the blue foil drop downs.

This program is based upon a Lakota version of a Native American legend that is found throughout most tribes’ folk lore. Basically, a Magic Woman keeps summer in her magic bag and lets only the cold, winter days out. The animals hate the constant cold, steal the bag, and only agree to return it to the woman IF summer can be let out of the bag 1/2 of every year–then winter reigns the other 1/2.

We always sing during the shows-this adaptation of

We always sing during the shows-this adaptation of “Wouldn’t it be Lovely” to have it snow everywhere….

The puppets steal the Magic Bag and there's trouble when the Magic Woman wants it back

The puppets steal the Magic Bag and there’s trouble when the Magic Woman wants it back.

These are the moments I will remember forever....

These are the moments I will remember forever….

Cheers-and now you know why 1/2 of most years are warm, and the other, 1/2 cold:-)

Franque23.

Credits to Odette Hinson as the Magic Woman and Angela Hassebroek as Lima and puppeteer. Thanks.

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You know the type- the annoying workmate that smiles even in the morning, lends you two helping hands when all you asked for was one, continually makes the day better and makes you forget you wish it were over. I’m surrounded by the type-turkey’s every one of them.12279013_10208140762667012_8713307563898335197_n (1)

Odette’s turkey hat craft tortured old and young alike this year.AlachuaCountyLibraryDowntown_100kW

http://www.aclib.us/headquarters(link-a-dink to the Alachua County Library district.)The main, Headquarter’s branch is a big deal building, housing over 250,000 items, visited by 3,000 people on a slow day and checking out over 1 million items per year.

Sometimes, I just have to put one foot in front of the other and drag myself in to work with our rafter of Youth Service people. Imagine the whole flock being made up of people who like to help others on a daily basis, and it only gets worse. These liberrians( from the often used pronunciation, most seem to think we grow on trees.) like to share information, read, laugh, smile-never yell-stay pleasant, think proactively, design endless displays, tell stories during elaborate story hours presented throughout the county, and they like to nibble. Real Gobblers this group. In fact, I think we should call one table inside our office the official, Nibble Table-wait, the entire office-The Nibble Office. Better. In all, it’s a disgusting display of happiness around here-a nightmare montage of good feelings I must navigate through every working hour!

This is giving me an idea…..

images (23) Ya know how we have all those happy days like Thanksgiving, the Holidays(code for Christmas) Thank God for Parents day(wait-do we have one of these?) Anyway….what we need around here is an official crappy day -a cathartic day of the year, one left open for only complaints, grips, groans, pukey ideas, grumbling and saying what’s on our mind day. We could call it, The Colossal Crappy Day. But why stop at one, when we could have,say,,, four a year?!?!?!

Right now,  what’s amazing is that this post has nothing in it that even closely resembles what I meant to write about. No, this post is about the Library building I put on display, how much awful fun it was creating, and how many patrons regrettably enjoy it.12195848_1049487265082047_5704119365050262721_n

So yeah, it’s like a doll house, you can even find stacks of books and stuff by looking into the side windows or into the second story window.12191492_1049487311748709_2641903970150508098_n

I’m using the bright reflective neon paper that’s attached to the backside of the trees to get the added fall reflection look.

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Have trees, have squirrels*(God’s motto.)…Well,  one thing’s certain-this squirrel’s not the only one who has a bunch of nuts around him.

red team winners

I ask you! Who are these people!

And my director(she’s really my supervisor, but, shhh, don’t mention that to her) keeps thinking of more to do, more to eat and stuff.1965012_786280751406619_7639099478551129472_n

She keeps an eye on me.

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And really, all the gals I work with wear a bunch of hats on a daily basis- it’s that do this, do that, get stuff done attitude they all don that screws up many perfectly good, non-productive days.

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Personally, I have to ask, why so many hats? It’s only one job!?!?!

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I’m your basic one hat sort of guy, period. (Pay no attention to the stuffed animals, puppets, clown shoes, tinsel or that other hat on my desk.)

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Okay, also pay no attention to maybe a second hat, or four, or the Grinch, the moose, the royal carriage, and the winged Pegasus you can’t see to boot. There, that’s as far as I take it-the rest is all hard work; end of story-sorta. Let the others do all the miserable laughing.

Merry Thanksgiving anyway, and enjoy the turkey’s-I do.

Franque23

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Time to eat.

Book one of the Avatar magic Trilogy, Avatar Magic, and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic, and the final book of this trilogy, Survival, are on kindle now. Please enjoy this Sci-fi romance. I hope you buy the books; I hope you enjoy reading the books; I hope you will review the books; I hope you will share the books.

Book One: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0NYO80
Book Two: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KXMIIOK

Book Three: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018RX67BW

 

 

 

 

 


We have a great tradition of doing puppet shows here in the Alachua County Library district’s  downtown Headquarter’s Branch-In one way or another, the whole crew of the youth services department gets involved, even if this is  to man the desks extra hours while the puppeteers practice or perform.*

We’d performed an adaption I wrote of The Wide-Mouth Frog about four years ago. This time, when Gail Carr heard we were doing the show again, she came running up to me with the music we’d used before-she’d saved it all this time!

Gail's eyes dazzle with the same excitement we all feel about the puppet shows.

Gail’s eyes dazzle with the same excitement we all feel about the puppet shows.

We had to start with a publicity sign and hand bills to pass out.

We put the sign up about two weeks before show date

We put the sign up about two weeks before show date, but we’d thought about how to do the show for more than 3 months-selecting parts and thinking about the humorous aspects of the puppet show.

We place the story in a Floridian swamp–and talk up as many environmental issues as possible without being too heavy handed.

I decided to build a set that places the frog under mushrooms this time-that means I have to build those gigantic shrooms.

How to build a 3-D mushroom? That was my question!

How to build a 3-D mushroom? That was my question!

I started with two different shapes, thinking I might stuff something on this back piece and cover it with the right paper….turned out, I didn’t need any stuffing.

Iwanted the mushrooms to have gills,,,and think I may put interior lighting inside the shrooms for a neat look--though not sure I'll get to this.

I wanted the mushrooms to have gills,,,and think I may put interior lighting inside the shrooms for a neat look–though not sure I’ll get to this. I stapled the gills to the back piece, and bent it up and out.

Here’s a shot of this from the other side to help show the structure technique.

Now the back piece and gills of shroom are ready for the outer layer that will be stapled to the inside tabs as shown.

Now the back piece and gills of shroom are ready for the outer layer that will be stapled to the inside tabs as shown.

(above)I’m using x-actos to cut a stiff mylar and then bending the paper so they form the gills I want. My fingers point to the tabs I’ll need in order to staple the covering to the gill part of the interior.

It took some planning to figure how much material I'd need to bend around the mushroom frame.

It took some planning to figure how much material I’d need to bend around the mushroom frame.

I’m using a corrugated,  tan colored roll of paper. I deliberately stepped on this board for one of the shrooms, to give that one a different texture/look. Then came the stapling- I had to staple the tabs once to the top paper as it came around the bend, and then again to get those staples as close as possible to the frame and end up with the look I wanted.

a two step process-first, a loose fight, then a tighter stapling and closer cutting to shape the mushroom

a two step process-first, a loose fit, then a tighter stapling and closer cutting to shape the mushroom

Not too bad so far...

Not too bad so far…

The stems will  be made out of corrugated white paper…the mushrooms will stand about six to seven feet, one on either side of the puppet show. And there will be trees……that may be turned around by hand. One side of each tree will show an arching branch full of leaves and hanging Spanish moss but, when turned, the back side of those branches will come together as a rainbow —you’ll get the idea once they are done.  A great intern, Grace, helps make the rainbow, and stands next to the guts of the trees –

Grace helped us before several years ago....it's great ot have her back! Menawhile, the puppet stage that will be transformed into a swamp is in the background.

Grace helped us before several years ago….it’s great to have her back! Meanwhile, the puppet stage that will be transformed into a swamp is in the background.

I got center pieces of carpet rolls from a local carpet store, hack-sawed them in half, cut out boxes and taped them together for a stable up-right.

The mushrooms wait on my desk for their stems....

The mushrooms wait on my desk for their stems….

Some say I must have been eating mushrooms to come up with this sorta stuff-but I love it! And I can’t wait to see my supervisor, Tina, play the part of the Wide-Mouth Frog….she wears so many hats! Odette, our other puppeteer for the show, has a million voices! Plus, when I showed her a box I hoped to turn into an ambulance, she did a 1000 times better job of that task than I’d ever dreamed possible.

Usually, it is common for puppet shows to feature small, intricate stage props the puppets can use. Thinking big can work, too. We like to bring the show to the people, and often do outtakes during the Puppet show that present full size characters who represent the puppets in person. It’s an interesting twist.

The stage is starting to come together…

Thing is, we still needed to build much more for the set,,,I worked, and many others helped. Here’s a good shot of the trees in production. One side of overhanging limbs will be of wood and leaves, but when they are turned around, those hanging branches will form a rainbow…

the branches start- one picture of each side

the branches start- one picture of each side

Volunteers help us build the trees.....the tree frames stand behind the branches/rainbow.

Volunteers help us build the trees…..the tree frames stand behind the branches/rainbow.

Finally, after about four hours of putting prop  pieces in place, the stage is set. (The puppet stage is in between the shrooms, and the people appeared throughout the show by walking out in front of the ambulance.  That truck we drove out as two medics who wore frog hats–the wide mouth frog had a frog stuck in her throat….

It took a drill, hammer and counter sinks to attach the tree limbs that doubled as a rainbow....

( Click on the picture for a bigger, better view.)It took a drill, hammer and counter sinks to attach the tree limbs that doubled as a rainbow….The tinsel blew like rain in the rain forest once the AC was turned on.

The show was more than great fun!  Here’s to great times in Libraries.

Ribbit, ribbit.

See you!

Franque23

*The other blog about the show-getting ready to perform.https://franque23.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/puppet-show-pazazzz/

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

The set was ready for The Wide Mouth Frog...

The set was finally ready for The Wide-Mouth Frog…

The Wide Mouth Frog get sready for action--but it turns out, she had a frog stuck in her throat Medics were luckily able to remove during the play

The Wide Mouth Frog gets ready for action–but it turns out, the star had a frog stuck in her throat that Medics were luckily able to remove during the play

This Puppet show, however, was hardly our first  rodeo on the circuit.

This Puppet show, however, was hardly our first rodeo on the circuit.

Rumpelstiltskin was a super time.....

Rumpelstiltskin was a super time…..

As director, the hardest thing to over come is the shy nature of my cast members...

As director, the hardest thing to over come is the shy nature of my cast members…

It's like pulllin' teeth trying to get my workmates to slough off their routines and dress up.

It’s like pulllin’ teeth trying to get my workmates to slough off their routine clothing and dress up.

The hardest thing is to get them to wear hats!

The hardest thing is to get them to wear hats!

No wait!- It’s impossible to get our crew to wear hats! Why-oh why!?!??!

Another ho-hum day at work.....

Another ho-hum day at work…..

I work hard to write the lines I know they'll forget!

I work hard to write the puppet show lines that we all will forget come show time!

I have to beg patrons to attend...

I have to beg patrons to attend…

Sometimes, the work gets soooo difficult, "Find your marks!", "Speak to the audience!", "Please show up!", "Forget it! Just say anything!", that all I see as porducer is red!

Sometimes, production gets soooo difficult, “Find your marks!”, “Speak to the audience!”, “Please show up!”, “Forget it! Just say anything!”, that all I see  is red!

There are always intense moments......

There are always intense moments just before show time……

Sometimes I think we take the color and shape of our hair too seriously.

Cast members have discussions-producing the puppet show is a decision making process.

 Sometimes, I go a bit over board....

Sometimes, I go a bit over board….

But in the end…..

We Slay the beast--and the show is done!

We slay the beast–get thru the performances and the shows are done!

Until the next one.

We rest together once more, knowing the crowd the loved it! And, so did we......

We rest together once more, knowing the crowd loved it! And, so did we……

The next blog will show how the set for the Wide-Mouth Frog was built-and give an idea of how many people  actually helped make it happen.

The Wide Mouth Frog was a super good time, and we'll do this puppet show again this summer at the Alachua County's Headquarter's Branch Library---see you then!

The Wide-Mouth Frog was a super good time, and we’ll do this puppet show again this summer at the Alachua County’s Headquarter’s Branch Library—see you then!

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We always have a good time.

Franque23ish.

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