World Puppetry Day: Making a Theatrical Puppet
World Puppetry Day takes place every March 21. On the occasion of this holiday, the hero of our new article is Theatrical Puppets Studio in Moscow. It’s creator, Stanislav Khubetsov, makes and restores puppets that participate in performances.
Thin wire systems allow for control of the fingers, mouth and eyes of the puppets. Whether rod puppet or marionette, each character exhibits highly detailed mobility. On Instagram, Stanislav shares video tutorials on managing dolls and shows off their internals.
Why do you work with puppets and tell stories through them?
I like to work with my hands and enjoy creating from ordinary material, bringing it to life blinking and moving fingers. I realized this was my calling, when I first held a theatrical puppet. There is no standard, each item is unique. This profession makes it possible to come up with new characters, new solutions. The more I learn puppetry, the bigger this world becomes.
The primary driver for creating a character is the play, since a theatrical puppet is made for a specific performance. Before starting work, the artist reads the script, explores the nature of all characters. It is very important to feel the spirit of each hero and depict it in a sketch, to offer your vision.
For you, what is the most difficult part of creating a new puppet?
The hardest part is finding a character. Sometimes it takes longer than making the puppet. But it is a fascinating process: the idea can come to mind from anywhere, at any moment. Often I find my characters on public transport, just watching people. It is very important that the puppet has its own unique bright individuality. Appearance will say a lot about the character, whether it is good or bad.
Where did the story of your workshop begin?
It starts with the desire to work and learn as many technologies as possible for creating puppets. I worked as a puppeteer at the Moscow Children’s Fairy Theater, although at first I got a job there as a scene-designer. Later I quit this role and started independent business with my own studio.
Where did you study? What is better for a beginner: go straight to the studio as an apprentice and or to finish specialised courses in a university?
I studied at the Moscow Surikov Art Theater School, and had nothing to do with puppets. I could not imagine that I would work with them. University Courses give theory and basics, while work in the workshop gives practice. Both of them are equally useful.
How do you find like-minded people and finance for development?
In Moscow there are many great masters of the craft and I was lucky enough to count them among my friends and acquaintances. I can call them like-minded people. As for sponsors, I do everything either at my own expense or funded by donations. I communicate with many foreigners and we pass a lot of useful information on our work to each other. They also order puppets from the USA, UAE, Germany, Australia, Turkey, Cyprus, China and the Dominican Republic.