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Puppets Are People, Too: The Clyde Fitch Report

February 22, 2013

The Brown Tweed Society is pleased to host John Clancy, contributor to The Clyde Fitch Report, the nexus of art and politics.

I have to confess to a prejudice, friends.

It’s one I’ve only recently became aware of and am actively and mindfully addressing, but like all prejudices, it’s something I’ve built up and refined over the years with daily ignorance and a healthy allowance of lazy thinking.

I don’t think of puppeteers as actors.


I think of them, all of them, as one big bunch of “Puppet People,” a tribe apart, with their own language, history and puppetish ways.

I’m working through it, but there it is and I am not proud of it.

Don Cristobal Photo credit Richard Termine

–Don Cristobal
All photos by Richard Termine–

I opened a show last weekend, Don Cristobal: Billy Club Man.  It was the first time in over ten years I’ve worked as a pure performer: I didn’t direct it, write it or produce it, and I don’t sweep the floor after the show is done.  I’m just an actor, Jim, and it’s a joy.

This show has puppets in it—hand puppets, shadow puppets and a beautiful bunraku-style three foot tall puppet who is the star of the show—so you could say it’s a puppet play, but my point today is you shouldn’t.  You should just say it’s a play and come see it.

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