FYS-135 The Secret Life of Puppets

Instructor: Adjunct Instructor Leslie Strongwater
Department: Theatre Arts

Course Description:
What gives puppets their power to enthrall, terrify and heal? What is the Velveteen Rabbit effect? Why is puppetry so often relegated to child’s play? How are puppets used outside of entertainment in political, educational and therapeutic contexts? This course discards preliminary notions of puppetry and repositions them as the ultimate bridge between the dead and the living. The course posits puppetry as the ultimate object of horror, and examines the uncanny and grotesque appeal of puppets on stage, in film, and the liminal spaces in between. Looking at work by the immaculately disturbed literary minds of Victoria Nelson, Heinrich von Kleist, Henryk Jurkowski, and the work of puppet artists like Roman Paska, Jim Henson, and Julie Taymor, we will expose the psychological properties of puppetry-and with it, unearth the darkest contents of our psyches.