Demo of Loki puppet for auditions

I wrote this up for Rob Kimbro, the director of Odd and the Frost Giants. He is auditioning actors and needs a rehearsal puppet.

Loki is a very simple rod puppet. He has a rod in the head, a flexible foam body, and a rod in the tail.

The puppeteer stands in full view of the audience to manipulate the puppet.  Because the figure has no legs, it can play in the air without raising the question “What is it standing on?”  Or at least, this won’t be a problem if it is clearly established that the figure is “walking” by means of the movement choices.

  1. To make a mock for the audition, use a piece of cardboard rolled into a cone for the head.
  2. Tape on simple triangular ears. Do not give the puppet eyes. The final puppet will have eyes.  For audition purposes you want the simplest possible focus on the  puppet so use the ears and nose for that.
  3. Glue a dowel into the base of the head.
  4. Tie and glue (or tape) a stout cord to the dowel where it meets the head.
  5. The body will ultimately be foam covered with cloth, but for the audition you can use foam, a household sponge, or twisted newspaper. (see sample below)
  6. The tail is a feather duster, wadded up newspaper on a stick, or anything similar.
  7. Tie and glue (or tape) a stout cord to the tail right at the base of the duster or newspaper.
  8. Glue or tape the cords to the body.
  9. Tug on it to make sure it doesn’t come apart instantly.
  10. Pack extra tape for the audition.
And this is my hasty mockup in newspaper.

Foam will move better but newspaper will be just fine.

And as the final visual aid — sorry I can’t be there — here is me moving the mockup.  What I want you to look for in the auditioners is a sense of breath and that the puppet is looking at things.

Ideally, they’ll have an idea of how long the puppet’s “stride” is and maintain a consistent relationship with their imaginary ground.

In the video, I’m looking at the camera, because I thought the audio was working so I was telling you what to look for.  For actual performance, I would want the puppeteer’s focus to be on the puppet’s head or center back.  The puppeteer should strive to keep their own body as neutral as possible, particularly since there are moments, later, when we will need to distinguish between puppeteer and actor.

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