Clowning in the Middle East

Last year, my wife and I went to the Middle East — Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar. While I didn’t get an opportunity to put on the make-up or even show up as Zippy the Clown, I did get to practice some clown arts. As part of the conference, I taught the attendees how to twist simple balloon animals and how to do a puppet skit. And Fire Dogg, the trusty two-handed pal, joined us on his tour of duty to the land where the land is immense and the heat is intense. It was a great experience full of wonderful people and unforgettable sites. I highly recommend the Arabian Gulf as a travel destination for all who have the wanderlust.

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Puppet theater

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It’s a puppet theater! Personally, I don’t think a puppet theater is absolutely necessary to run a puppet show. I think that if you do it right, most kids will focus on the puppet rather than the puppeteer, regardless if you’re doing a ventriloquism act or not. The wife, though, insisted I have a puppet theater, so there you go.

I found an easy step-by-step instruction on how to build your own puppet theater on Pinterest. Basically, this is made of three foam boards, two pillow cases, a wooden dowel, foam shapes you can get from Michael’s, and a lot of duct tape. On the sides, the dark sides of the foam boards are facing inside. That’s so the inside of the box itself is dark so the viewer focuses on the puppets.

The curtains are made by putting holes in the pillow cases and stringing them through the dowels. I got king sized cases, and they are pretty long. I’m probably going to have to fasten them with some safety pins eventually. Still, it is a keen design, one that I can expand on if I need a full sized theater. (The current one is meant to be mounted on an existing table. I’m thinking of putting together some plywood for a simple base. Or… perhaps picking up a small table from a Goodwill store.)