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  • Vermilion Voice

Life As A Puppetry Artist

Puppeteer and theater artist Maralyn Ryan, with Kaybridge Puppets out of Edmonton,

described puppetry as an extension of her theater artistry at the ‘Making The Puppet Come To Life’ workshop at the Vermilion Library on March 28, which was brought in by the Early Childhood Coalition.

Ryan, who is also a director, professional actor, drama teacher and runs theater camps for children and teaches senior citizens drama, said that puppetry is an art form.

“It’s not something that you can learn overnight. I act with puppets. When I work with children, I tell them they have to bring themselves to the table to give life to that puppet. It’s just like giving life to a character on stage. It’s a skill you have to have a passion for, I learn from the kids. I know there are kids in the audience today who are artists too, and I want to inspire them. Children are natural actors,” said Ryan.

Ryan says that she was well received at VES, and Principal Michelle Webb was very welcoming and inviting.

“When you meet the principal of the school, usually I find you meet the school. She was really positive. The principal’s attitude is usually reflected in the teachers and the kids,” said Ryan.

Ryan said her life is busy and going in a lot of directions with her acting career and drama teaching.

“You have to wear many hats as an artist. It is a form of theatre or performance that involves the manipulation of puppets—inanimate objects, often resembling some type of human or animal figure. You have to focus; you can’t think of anything else for a split second. The puppeteer often speaks in the voice of the character of the puppet and then synchronizes the movements of the puppet's mouth with this spoken part. I make all of my own puppets. The actions, gestures and spoken parts acted out by the puppets are typically used in storytelling.

When the economy is suffering, the first area to be cut is the arts. They say that only 11 percent of actors are working at any one time in this country – that’s pretty shabby! So, I can’t just say I am an actor, it’s too hard out there,” explained Ryan.

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