Albany Democrat-Herald from Albany, Oregon on May 16, 1936 · 10
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Albany Democrat-Herald from Albany, Oregon · 10

Albany, Oregon
Issue Date:
Saturday, May 16, 1936
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Ancient Art Of Puppetry Being Revived In The West S. .. JTS- f""'" l..-w.r..:.....w... -y.- w VW. 'TW ; . .'. -:r- r'W - v v - , Zr. V, 1 - IT' . ' i y iJ-f J i.J W . i - Perry Dilley's itudlo theater, smallest "Little Theater" in America, seating only 90 people. Perry Dillcy, internationally known puppeteer, who molds the heads of every puppet himself. Each must be fashioned for the play in which it will act. Character heads are modeled in soft clay, then plaster molds are made, and the head is reproduced in papier-mache. T.Mr Above: Barbara Hurst and Perry Dillcy painting the faces of aiewly molded puppet heads. Perry Dilley Says Puppets Appeal To Masses Who Want A True Folk Art Pretty Barbara Hunt, one of Perry Dilley's assistants, with two puppet! which take part in old-fashioned melodrama. Puppets Prance For Benefit of Grown-ups and Carefree Children Up and Down Coast By VC IUT WELLMAN PUPPETRY, moat ancient of theatrical enter-talnmanta, haa been revived In the Weat. Colorful talea of primitive pageantry, old folk lefenda, chlldren'a fairy atoriea, and good old-fashioned melodramaa are "on the road" again. ' Traveling up and down the Pacific Coaat, aa puppeta did In Europe generatlona ago, from city to city and from town to town, touting under the direction of Perry Dllley, Internationally known puppeteer, who la credited with bringing the almort forgotten art Into public favor, Ii a puppet ahow aupreme. A hundred yeara ago puppet ehown wore the tabloid newapapera of Prance and Italy. Puppeta, which began performing myatory playa In the cathedral, were banned by the church for Irrellgioua by-play (introducing scenes of com edy and horee-play), and turned out into the market place, where they took up tho bualneaa of aatlrising the political events of the day. Today, Perry Dllley'a gaily roatmned figures entertain children and adults on annual "road shows" from San FYanclaco to San Diego, and schedule shows regularly at the untveraitiea. ivrry Dllley'a Idea waa to get back to the ji-iglnal purpose of entertainment, to have the ludlem-e take a real part In the performance. The revival of puppetry, he aaya, shows that people of taste are not entirely satisfied with the tlnael, sex and hollow elegance of the movies tnd radio. With both of these mediums there la t gap between actor and audience that cannot be bridged. Puppet ahow audiencea in direct con-iact with the "performers" enter into the spirit of the play, and help to create the Illusion of reality. "Only children and a few artiata came to our flrat public performancea," Puppeteer Dilley aaid. "The youngsters cam because to them the fantaay waa real. Artiata came looking for symbolic fantasy. All thla haa changed. Now, shopkeepers and stenographers, lawyera and stock-broker, all kinds of people, in act, come because they find it good entertainment. The vice-president of a big corporation had his secretary call buried with ancient Egyptian ruler. No one knows whether Indja or Egypt waa the flrat home of puppeta. Hindus say that puppet lived with the great gods before they came down to ' earth. The little figures came from India to China, then to Japan, In play about Chlneae heroes and animals that talked. Japanese poeta have written thousands of puppet plays, where children dance, fly kites, and girl puppeta carry dolls. Even in early Greece puppets attended feasts and acted for their hosts. Perhaps the first passion play was acted by puppeta, before the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, with emotion and tragic incidents from the life of Chriat. In Italy puppet shows exhibited feats of knights in armor conquering an incredible array of foes. Italian puppets were invited to visit the castles of the nobles, very much like wandering minstrels. GREAT authors were not above writing plays especially for the puppet stage. Shakespeare wrote "Julius Caesar" and "Midsummer Night's Dream" for puppets, and Ben Jonson contributed "Every Man In His Humor." George Sand, famous novelist, was so interested that she made a puppet theater for her young son. Theae dignified, mysterious little figures of the miniature theater have had famous friends men who appreciated the fact that stage and human actors and scenery were all subordinate to the puppets themselves, which live in proportion to the actor's art and the enthusiasm of their audience. Perry Dilley expects them to have more Important friends among modern writers, when they realize the possibilities of these small flgurea which almost "come to life." itaelf, requiring years of training and experimentation. Perry Dilley became interested In the subject at the Manual Arts High School In Los Angelea. where he made stages, designed scenery, and modeled puppet flgurea. In the past few years he has toured most of the towns In the San Joaquin Valley from Tulare to Taft. and aa far north aa Red Bluff. Hi ahows have been presented in the Pasadena Community Playhouse, and at U. C. L. A. Every summer hla puppet troupe givea playi at the University of California in Wheeler Hall. Hi puppeta have played to big audiencea at Mills College, College of the Pacific and Stanford Unlveraity For several years he haa given course in puppetry for" the University Extension in his studio theater. As a maater puppeteer. Perry Dllley'a reputation is more than local. His original work is known in Berlin, Toklo, and in eastern states. A number of German, Japanese, and American books on the art of puppetry include illustrations of hla little flgurea. The family tree of-puppets ia as old aa civilization. Carved movable sjlgurea of ivory were "Buried Treasure" Found In Sand Singer Gets Novel Makeup Box utmost importance, requiring not only skill but all the adjuncts of beauty contained In the folding compartments of what Is probably the most unusual box of its kind In Hollywood. last month to reserve sata. Adulta begin to take puppeta seriously." PERRY DILLEY believes that puppeta, like folk songs, appeal to the masses. Puppet shows are a true folk art, and cannot be too esthetic or renrred. 'Puppet plots are intended to be simple, unsophisticated, refreshing, and lively. The little figures are not aubtle in their playacting. They're honest and direct, If sometimes noisy. San Francisco headquarter of the Perry Dilley Puppeta la the Studio Theater, the small-eat "little theater" In the country, but boasting the largeat selection of puppet plays In America about 29 In all. Hla theater seats 60 people, but the enthusiasm of the audience makes up for its lack of numbers. The theater Itself la only on of a growing chain of 'different placea where Perry Dilley and hla aaalstanta, Grace VVIckham, Grace Dilley, and. pretty Barbara Hurat, present traveling puppet shows, and play every aeaaon before a total audience running well over 30,000. Their complete traveling equipment la contained In two large boxes, which can be fitted Into on email car one of tho advantagea of a traveling puppet ahow! Each box holda puppeta, drapea, lights, acenery, and stage aettlngs, which can be unpacked and prepared for a ahow In an hour' time. The Studio Theater haa a modern revolving stage, permitting four stage sets to be prepared at one time making for brief intermissions. It la fitted with a modern switchboard, "fly-gallery," and specially designed acenery. PERRY DILLEY'S flgurea are hand-puppets, about 16 inches high, without strings a type not generally used. Each ia manipulated by hand, the middle finger for the bead, other finger for arms. Dilley experimented with marionettes, and decided upon hand-puppeta because the action la leaa complicated, the illusion being greater without the visible threads. The appeal of stringlesa puppeta is simple and direct, and the essence of art la simplicity. The fact that these flgurea have no feet detract from the Illusion no more than the threads which manipulate marionettes. Perry Dllley'a puppets make no slavish pretentions to realism, although they come aa close to reality a any stage figures can.'. Successful puppeteers who lend their volc and hands to the moving flgurea must render sincere and sympathetic Interpretation of the puppet's role, aa each puppeteer la Identified with his or her puppet during the performance. Human manipulators must have an Inner conviction of -the puppet's Individual entity, which makes the play more than merely a mechanical business. Two imaginations contribute to the performance--that of the puppeteers, and Ahat of the audience. The combination produces a perfect puppet. , One week a smoky dragon will tread the boards of this traveling theater in the rollicking play. The Dragon That Wouldn't Say Please." The green monster does say "please"' in the last act with a great roar of satisfaction from the audience. Another week sees the thrilling rescue of a blonde beauty from under the wheels of a cardboard train, in "Under the Gaslight."" Auguatln Daly'a famous melodrama, first played In New York In IHri?. A third week may be Red Riding-hood s turn to be deceived by the wolf. Other stories played by the Dilley puppeta are: "Snow White and the Seveu Dwarfs." "Pierrot' Wedding," and "King of the Golden River" EACH puppet is made by Perry Dilley himself Character, heads are carefully modeled in soft clay, from which plaster molds are made Then the he'ad is reproduced in papier-mache, fitted with a proper wip, and the face shadowed and painted.' Puppet m.idcUni;. is a special art in AN UNUSUAL voice ia often rewarded by more than the applause of enthusiastic audiences, a pleasant fact discovered by Marlon Talley, Metropolitan Opera star, when she received a vsJuable antique Japanese makeup box from an admirer who heard her sing "Madame Butterfly." Thla conveniently made box was once the property of an Oriental matinee idol, and is so prized by Miss Talley that she used it exclusively when preparing for her recent debut in the. films. Makeup, particularly in cinemaland, ia of iht : ii la-s-, : ; -isHil ii iiimmia r - 'mlmmammm -. pons, o'emi-precious stones. iaper nioncy, and other valuables which considerably Increase her weekly pocket money. Her device samp up six Inches of sand with each operation, strains it through' the coarse wire meah and her treasure reveals Itself. An unusually lovely tvpe of beachcomber herself, time has found that "combinn the In-achv" pays unite dividends Hum sun-tan. ANOVKL way of adtling to her Income is practiced by pretty One Milnor of Beach, Oalifornia. who dwldel thst burled treasure could be recoveml from the whit ' sands of southern beaches. Working a few hours on afternoon with her efficient amid-aifting marhine proved her to be rlRht. She haa recovered from the playground of the multitude diamond rlti;s, coins, fountmn PACE TWO B

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