Edward Lear Again, Again….!

Edward Lear's "The New Vestments"

Gok Wan, eat your heart out!

You may recall some time ago that I mentioned I would be creating a new Shadow Puppet Suitcase show called “Edward Lear’s Nonsense” for Skipton Puppet Festival this year.

For those who would like to see me performing the show, I shall be one of the Street Theatre shows and will be appearing on Saturday the 24th of September.

I am now on with the process of devising the show and thanks to your contributions to my poll about whether or not to set the poem to a tune and sing it, I have decided in favour of using a tune.

Some time ago, I attended an excellent “voice work for puppeteers” workshop run by the Puppet Centre Trust at The Royal Exchange, Manchester.  This was around the time I was devising my first suitcase show “Jabberwocky!” based on Lewis Carroll’s poem of that name.  I was encouraged to use the poem as an aid to voicework in storytelling and discovered that the tune I was using did diminish the ability to alter tone of voice, pace etc. and thus compromised the show in terms of pure storytelling.

Lots of people have told me they like the singing best in my “Jabberwocky!” show, and it is something that is a bit different from what a lot of other puppeteers are doing.  However, it seemed extremely important to me that people be able to follow the story in this new show, as unlike “Jabberwocky”, “The New Vestments” by Edward Lear, is not very well known.

The other difference between the two poems is that “Jabberwocky” uses nonsense words, whereas “The New Vestments” uses a nonsense (or extremely silly and unlikely) story.  Therefore, pleasure can be derived in “Jabberwocky” just from listening to the sound of the words and not worrying about what they mean at all.

So, bearing all this in mind, I wanted to create a tune that followed the rhythm and patterns of the words and the meaning of the words, rather than the poem following the tune.

A lot of random singing and recording in Audacity later….I have composed a tune I was happy with and that a couple of people who listened to it for me think is really good.

Now all I have to do is learn it so I don’t end up making up a new tune every time I perform it!

I am also toying with various different ways of creating the puppets and sets for the show.  This is quite a challenge due to the amount of action and different images and characters in it.  I shall keep you all informed of my progress and will hopefully see some of you at the performances in September!


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