What is your favorite puppet?
No. It's been one of humankind's many forms of expression for thousands of years, so it's safe to say that it's here to stay. Perhaps it has a classical quality, like the playing of a violin in an age of electronic instruments. Or maybe it's akin to handmade pottery, surrounded by an industry of plastic dinnerware. On the other hand, many puppeteers are applying their skills and incite to develop and incorporate new technologies in their work, giving puppetry the ability to adapt and continue to communicate with audiences around the world.
Puppets come in all sizes and shapes, and they are manipulated by strings, long sticks or rods, and a puppeteer's hands. A marionette is simply a puppet that hangs from strings. It is actually a French name, which translated means, "Little Mary," the name of a popular puppet character a few hundred years ago. That puppet became so famous, that other similarly strung puppets, whether they were Mary or not, were referred to by that now generic word.
Do you make your own puppets?
Yes. But to perform with puppets - or be a puppeteer - a person does not necessarily have to be a puppet maker. That requires a unique skill set all its own. But Robert Rogers, does make all of his own puppets with the occasional assistance of other craftspeople. And Robert is also a composer and writer, so he has created many musical scores and plays, as well.
The company's base is about three hours north of New York City. From there it travels to entertain audiences far and wide. Planes, trains and automobiles have transported the puppets many, many miles over the last thirty-plus years.
You are located in Castle Creek, New York. Where is that, and how far do you travel?
Believe it or not, it's the new puppet - the one that poses a new artistic challenge of design and creation - that is the favorite. While some puppets turn out better than others, and seem to be more popular with audiences, the new ones that are yet to be, are full of promise and hope.
Isn't puppetry an old fashioned, dying art form?
What is the difference between a puppet and a marionette?
How many puppets do you have?
That's another good question, because, after more than thirty years, it's worth noting that Robert has amassedquite a collection. Hundreds, actually. But that is because his creative approach involves the building of a new cast of characters for every new production. There are some puppeteers who enjoy long, successful careers, who specialize in performing with only a small number of puppet characters.