Most of us at sometime have seen a Punch & Judy show on a beach or a pier. The main characters, as glove puppets, are well known: Punch, with humped back, squeaky voice, red and yellow costume, enormous hooked nose and chin; Judy, with similar features, a nagging hag; and all the others including Scaramouch, Constable and the Hangman.
If you took the story literally it would be a tale of child abuse and callous serial murder, but when presented as puppets the violence becomes just comic.
So, here’s the idea, take a puppet show and present it large as life with the stock characters played by real actors in the guise of costumed puppets retaining all their essential characteristics.
A live performance full of murder and mayhem and delivered as fun for all the family. Even Dickens approved of it as harmless street entertainment as the violence was so fantastical it could not be taken seriously. No blood is involved, but in our production, there will be a lot of slap-sticks, lightweight, painless, but noisy. And we’ll need some live music too.
The show calls for cast of 3 as a minimum, perhaps up to 5. There are never more than 2 characters on stage at once. Punch is there throughout, and the rest of the cast share the other characters. Assisted quick changes are required and as most of the cast wear whole- or part-masks then gender becomes unimportant. Punch could be played by an actress, Judy by a man. There will be individual amplification, but you still have to project.
Performances will be outdoors, we have bookings so far at Gwennap fete on 23rd June, Ponsanooth fete on 30th June and Trebah amphitheatre on 18th August with 2 or 3 performances at each. We are looking to fill the gap with a few others. The Perranwell Village open cricket match is a possibility – we were there last year in panto costumes.
We will be using an original script, now out of copyright, which has been edited; the running time is about 20 minutes … ish.
Rehearsals will start very shortly and take place on the actual transportable stage in the director’s garden in Perranarworthal, weather permitting of course.
… and, no, you won’t have to swallow a swozzle.
This show is to be directed by Mark Breach.