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Robert LeRoy Smith leg marionette stringing  (Read 4328 times)
« on: October 06, 2011, 09:07:45 am »

I have been reading his book and noticed he strings the legs in quite a complicated way: "I tied the walking strings to the top of the feet, ran them through the front of the lower legs and out the back near the knees, through the upper legs and out the front, through the chest and out the shoulders"

Does this work well? Does anyone have any video reference of a puppet walking with this stringing?

Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2011, 09:21:13 am »

Robert felt that this method gave the puppet a natural walk but I never really liked the method of stringing through chest and out the shoulders. I do agree with going from the top of the foot through the front of the lower and out the back to the back of the upper then out the knee although I don't know that it is necessary on all puppets.  By stringing the top of the foot you can help the drag of an extra long foot that is not balanced well or if you want a very distinct lift on the toe of the foot. For most I simply string from the back of the upper leg then out the knee then directly up to the control. That being said I always use a detachable leg bar and Robert normally used an attached bar that you manipulated with the fingers of the hand that holds the main control. I don't think one is right or wrong it is just what you get used to. Smiley 

The one advantage of Roberts method is that you can walk two puppets at one time. With my method you can only walk one at a time. Robert as a rule preformed puppet plays where my style of puppetry was cabaret or what you have seen in most the street performance videos you have posted.

This video shows one of Robert's marionettes.
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2011, 04:29:31 pm »

Yes the lady is Diane Houke and she is the one who started the PAI in Independence MO. She is a collector not a puppeteer but she is very devoted. Smiley

Floating and dragging is simply a matter of practice. The walk itself though can be affected by the stringing. The method that Robert details is a natural walk in the sense that as a rule the toe does lift a bit when you take a step forward. The thing is if you get your balance right on the foot so it hangs level it usually will do this by itself.  The reason I don't like the string running through the body is because I feel it restricts the movements you can do.  Kind of hard to run or take large strides with that method.
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2011, 12:06:48 pm »

On the topic of running, and other specialized human marionette movement, here's a great series of videos:

Billy D. Fuller
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2011, 01:38:45 pm »

Now I know why I don't work with Marionettes.............. that looks hard.
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2011, 01:58:59 pm »

That is pretty nice movement. I find the top cross control very interesting. You can get some really unique movement out of it. This is a six part series so I went ahead and put them in a playlist. You can see them in order here:

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