The terms of the permission from “Officer Buckle & Gloria”‘s Publishers mean we are not allowed to show any photos or videos from the actual performances. But hopefully these pictures of the locations, set, costume etc. will provide a bit of an idea.
We had two days of performances the first was at East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley which as you can see from the picture is a lovely setting and luckily for the event was a gorgeous sunny day.
We were inside as we needed an electric point for the shadow puppet scene and didn’t need to worry about the sun shining from the wrong direction and blocking the shadows either.
There were a lot of other things going on to entertain the children and parents too such as a “Safety Trail” of some sort and also a juggler/unicyclist. He provided some amusement when he came into the barn, as Officer Buckle warned him about his unsafe mode of transport.
The organisers had hoped to attract children from 2-12 years old but in actual fact all of the children were very much at the younger end of the scale. So it took us a little while to try and adjust the performance to suit the younger clientèle. This was difficult because we had to keep the script exactly as it had been approved by the Publishers.
But overall it went down very well and I could hear the audience exclaiming over Gloria’s acrobatic antics. and we tried to get the audience to join in as much as possible. They could cheer for Gloria and Officer Buckle’s speeches, laugh at Gloria’s antics behind Officer Buckle’s back, be a TV news camera team member, “Aaaww!” in sympathy when Gloria is sad and cheer at the happy ending.
One small child in Bradford who I’d noticed laughing with particular delight at Gloria’s tricks came up to say goodbye to Gloria at the end of the show and stroked her fur very nicely and even gave her a little kiss on the nose. I think that was my favourite moment of the day.
I am generally very protective of puppets I’ve made and was a little concerned about how well Gloria would hold up to face to face meetings with small children, but all of the kids who stroked Gloria were very gentle with her. There were a couple of small children who were exploring her mouth nose and even poked a finger into her eye cavity. this was perfectly natural as they were obviously trying to work out if she was real and what she was made of. They were very lucky that she wasn’t a real Alsatian and doesn’t even possess a single tooth!
The weather was not quite as kind in Bradford City Park, we set up in our gazebos in the rain and it was a challenge to keep things dry. as it was still raining when it was time for the first showing we suggested we rearrange things so that we would be in one gazebo and a small audience in the other. After that the weather improved and we rearranged again. Officer Buckle also had a little walkabout with Gloria in between some of the static shows which was fun and everyone was delighted to meet Gloria.
By the end of the second day of performances it felt like we were really on a roll but of course we only had the permission for the two days we’d been commissioned for!
Is this the end for “Officer Buckle & Gloria” already, I hear you ask, even though it has gone so well? The answer to that is, NO! If you know of anyone who would be interested in booking the “Officer Buckle and Gloria” show please get in touch. We intend to collect expressions of interest from as many people as possible and to then go back to the publishers to ask for further permission to use the material. If anyone has suggestions of good people to approach about the show please leave a comment on this post.
OFFICER BUCKLE AND GLORIA ©1995 by Peggy Rathmann.
First published in the United States by G. P. Putnam’s Sons. All rights
reserved. Used with permission