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Suzie's Puppet Ministry first out of Church

March 30 2012 at 8:24 PM
from IP address

Axtell Family. Shower me with Prayers Saturday afternoon Pleeeeeze!
It will be my first honest to goodness Suzie's Puppet Ministry outside of a church building. I've done walk arounds out of the Church before, but this is a whole Puppet Show with just little old me out of my comfort zone (not in a church).
I wasn't sure that they would even allow me to come and do a Program when I offered. Because it is not a faith based setting. I went to them and offered to come and do a show for the kids. They liked how I walked around and greeted people for a Movie Morning they had at the factory last December. So, they are giving me a shot at this. I made it as clear as I could that my title is Puppet Ministry. Not sure if the person/persons I talked to understood that. I don't think they heard beyond puppet. But, with it being their Easter Egg Hunt. I think my puppets and I will fit in just fine.
I am taking Ayla (Seal)and Dodger DeCar (possum)for the main program. Rosie Latelstynecar (skunk)as my third puppet if I need to run the program longer. The Easter Egg Hunt follows my Puppet Show. I am also taking along my talking Centipede (it is just a simple made up story with a box and a plastic Centipede). I do not do magic yet so I have to take along a talking plastic centipede this time around for something really short and quick if needed as a filler.
Sharing and reading this and that with you all, has been such a great help for me getting started. I love the art of giving life to a Puppet. Man, the laughs and smiles are just priceless.
Thanks. Suzie

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good luck

March 30 2012, 9:44 PM 

Hi I do hope your puppet show does well. I am also a church puppet lady but have done a few shows at other places so all Gods Blessings let me know how you get on

Tony Borders

rabbit ears

March 30 2012, 9:58 PM 

Stop by a party store and grab some rabbit ears. You can have one of your puppets try out to be the Easter Bunny. Do some adlibbing with it. (That thought comes from a past post by Steve Axtell.)



March 31 2012, 12:38 PM 

My hubby taped it, and took some pictures. I haven't seen either yet. I did get positive feed back from some of those that attended, though. When I got home I realized I had not spit out my chewing gum. I did not mean to keep it in. I guess I got caught up in the excitment.


Whew Page 2

March 31 2012, 3:02 PM 

I got a chance to see in Movie Blurps how it went. It did not go as badly as I felt it went. Even though I got positive feed back, I felt I could have done better.
First, I need to not chew gum. That is a no-no. Need to remember to spit it out next time.
I need to give the Puppets more stuff to do with the kids, to keep the kids busy.
I need to learn how to talk over machines that kick on in a break room setting.
The little bitty kids were getting restless, although it wasn't that long.
They were just being little.
I need things between puppets. I can see why some of you add magic to your shows. Good idea.
The one main thing I got out of this was to see what I need to do differently to grow and get better at it.
If given another chance I will hopefully improve greatly.
The primary thing I noticed was the Axtell Puppets themself were a huge hit. It appeared that everyone loved them. I heard a lot of Awwww's.
That was pretty cool.
Over all I felt I did pretty good being out of my comfort zone (church setting).

On your way...

March 31 2012, 4:58 PM 

Forget the gum altogether, not just onstage. As soon as you arrive, you're interacting with the people who hired you - it's more professional if you're not chewing.

The youngest members of the audience will often be the first to break from your agenda. They need to see the characterization and fun the puppet has to offer in addition to having a good script.

You already realize that you need material to bridge the puppet routines together. Yes, magic is good... and an axcellent opportunity to be more interactive with the kids. Magic can also be combined with storytelling.

It's terrific that you got to see your performance on video. If you can evaluate yourself honestly and understand where improvements need to happen, it can only get better.

Go get 'em Suzie


Getting to Better Places in a Better Way

March 31 2012, 5:52 PM 

Thanks Steve for the support.
My husband and I took a long walk this evening after supper and compared notes on the shows/skits/programs I have done so far. We both agreed that what worked for one group did not work for another as well. Although the material was similar in nature. The age of the kids was the primary difference in this case I believe.
With Dodger at a Church function I had kids talking to Dodger on their own and being a huge part of the skit. Today the kids were a little younger, but not by much. But...they were anxious to get outside to the Easter Egg Hunt. Although they played along with the gags and songs and what knots I had line up for them with Dodger, it just didn't feel as smooth as it had with the other group of kids.
This one I also had a lot of traffic. People traffic. Adults continously removing kids from the room. I am sure this did not help the ones that were trying to see what was going on. The ice machine and softdrink machines in the break room decided to sing a song. Completely not the songs I had in mind. {:->
Oh you said. I got a chance to see my mistakes and I can hopefully improve on the next one.
I was really hard on myself when I finished today. I just felt like it wasn't as good as it could have been. I was concerned that I did not do a good enough job and that the people watching probably felt it was a waste of their time.
Those thoughts got erased pretty quickly once it was all over and they started leaving the break room. I had several people come up to me and said it was really good, and that they enjoyed it. Then outdoors when we went to watch the kids capture the Easter Eggs I had several people came out of their way to tell me how much fun it was.
So, this helped. But still in my mind I thought I could have given them a better show.
It wasn't until we pulled up in our drive way at home that it hit me I had gum in my mouth. Shoot! Too Late now.
I was really lucky that my husband recorded almost all of it so I could play it back. I felt a little better about it at least. I still think I could have done better, but I don't have to beat myself up.
I am hoping that this is a good sign of a growing Ministry. That is. If I think I can improve and want to, and trying to think of how to make it better, that means the Ministry still has a spark of life that hopefully will just bust into an open flame one day. I hope that makes since. Sounds like growth to me. I really want to learn, and do better each time I take the stage.
I used three Axtell Puppets today, Seal, Possum, and Skunk. Then I acted out my story about the Talking Centipede (a box and a plastic centipede). I had one little boy say the centipede was his favorite, until his Grandma told him how much he like the possum. Haahahaha
Thanks again Steve. I am going to keep my eyes and ears wide open and capture all the stuff you Pro-Vents can teach me. [:->

Tony Borders


March 31 2012, 7:40 PM 

I have a friend from England who said that the main difference in assemblies there vs. the USA is that we have noisy machines in the cafeteria. He doesn't even use a sound system in Britain! I think our kids laugh a lot more too, but I never told him that.

There is a HUGE difference between kids that are with their parents and kids with their class. The class is much more structured. Kids act out around mom or dad and parents don't seem to notice. A teacher will help put out fires right away. So an Easter Egg hunt is one of the more difficult things you will face. Libraries can be like that as well. Birthday parties! Oh, my! But they are all fun in their own way. You just can't expect them to be similar.

I have rowdier kids than most performers, but I like to get them laughing. In schools it's fine.

By the way, to calm a group down that is too loud, just have them do something physical. Wiggle fingers. Raise right hand, now left, etc. They stop talking so they can follow the instructions. Sometimes I even say "Take a deep breath. Now hold it... hold it.... hold it..... Now let it out slowly." That gets them really quiet. Can't talk when you're not breathing!


Thanks Tony

March 31 2012, 8:19 PM 

I found my self laughing at holding....holding...holding....your breath.
I can see the papers now. "Children Turn Blue at Puppet Ministry".
"Puppet Ministry Blue The Kids Away". "Puppet Ministry Makes You Smurf"
Love it, love it, love it.
Oops...You did say breath out right?

Mike C


April 1 2012, 12:30 AM 

Hey Suzie

I very much enjoyed this topic.

Discovery and self-critique is always interesting to me. After a weekend of Magic Shows I always call my friends/Fellow performers and ask how the weekend went for them.

We enjoy comparing notes of what worked and what didn't. What different Venues were like. What the crowd was like. What they responded to and what they didn't. What unexpected problems (noisy machines in your case) arose, and how we might get around them in the future.

Sometimes I learn more from the mistakes my friends and I make, than from the successes. We casually call these "War Stories" or "Horror Stories" depending on how difficult they were. I wish I'd kept a log of them, I should really start.

Maybe I'll start a Topic (if it doesn't exist already), "War Stories / Horror Stories"

What to do when a loud machine jarrs your set? I'm sure pros have special lines in reserve. It has certainly happened to them! Maybe the puppet has a take or joke on it.

I'm wondering if there should be two video cameras, one on you and one over your shoulder trained on the audience so you can see what they are really attentive for and what loses various age groups.

Anyway, while a lot of posts here do recount past experiences, detailed blow by strike are always the most interesting to me.


Battling the unexpected

April 1 2012, 6:18 AM 

Thanks Mike for your thoughts on this. I love this sight Steve Axtell has set up for us to share our thoughts and surprises, and really cool stuff too.
I know it has helped me greatly. It is always a hands up for someone to give you an idea here and there how to handle stuff, what worked for them and what didn't.
I wish I would have noticed that the machines were/could be a problem. I just adjusted my volume when I spoke and went on. In watching the tape back is when I saw the people getting up and down, and heard the machines singing.
I am really greatful that people in motion did not distract me. Not sure what it did to the ones sitting out there though.
My husband, bless his heart took it upon himself to adjust the volume in the back, that I wasn't even aware of at the time either. He had my back so to speak. He and I call it..."Got your Six".
I figure I will hear more about this next week at work. I was doing the Puppet Show where I am employed. Since I am a plant parts runner, I am all over the plant. Most know me, but I do not know them by name. Believe me. They will tell me the truth or tease me to death. I'm ready. Bring it on. {:->

Tony Borders


April 1 2012, 8:23 AM 

There is a topic previously about learning from our mistakes. I can't recall the title or main thread. But we put down what went wrong so others could know it might happen. My favorite answer someone gave was for the little kid who wanders up during the show (often repeatedly). The person said, "I start holding an auction, and the mother comes up for the child."


Steve Petra

will somebody give me $25 for this kid...

April 1 2012, 10:40 AM 

Hey Tony, good memory. I think I originally got the idea from David Ginn. I've done that auction bit a dozen times and it works sooooo well. I get my show back, get a laugh and make a few bucks at the same time. Not to mention getting even with an irritant parent.

Tony Borders


April 1 2012, 12:20 PM 

Ha, ha! I should have remembered it was Steve Petra who had such a great comeback.

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