Hissing goose

I’m not a moose or a goose on the loose

The hissing goose made its’ first appearance in my shadow puppet play, Going Underground at the Shadow Banquet. A small card puppet goose made a split second debut in a rather chaotic rendition of the 2 minute sing-a-long menagerie along with over 20 other animal puppets!

Goose’s tour of Europe

Mole in a Hole developed into a show that went to the Balkans, in Sofia and a New Year’s Eve performance in Plovdiv.

A new, much larger version of the goose was made for the shadow puppet show in Sofia.  Mila, my host’s daughter, painted the goose so that he could run in front of the screen and amongst the audience. Great ideas, but this all proved too much to coordinate, so a far more modest goose was developed for our next show in Plovdiv.

Flying south

In early January, I visited Athens where I made new puppets and further developed the goose.

I saw a litter-picker at the street market and bought it for a Euro. Bargain! or so I thought. I imagined it perfect as a device for a snapping beak, but alas it cast too much of an interfering shadow.

I took my goose and an abundance of other puppets up to Estia Agios Nikolaos in Galaxidi. We played in the morning sun and did an evening show with and for the residents there.

It was great to see it performed by other people. The linked-neck worked really well. When I got back to Athens I decided to remake him, prompted by his head falling off. The pulpy card and split-pins weren’t up to the rigorous routines he was being subjected to. I started paying attention to the techniques used by Karagiozis puppet makers – adapted them. I bought 0.8mm thick 50x100cm clear plastic, glass paints, self-tapping rivets and set to work.

Learning to fly

I got a few things wrong! The plastic was clear; perhaps it should have been frosted? The glass paints didn’t settle well on the plastic and one of the paints I bought was opaque (not transparent) I accepted that perhaps I was making another prototype and maybe I’d have to make yet another goose. I also started wondering if it was too big and I preferred the earlier silhouette version – Ah, artist dilemas! I persevered. I found a brilliant shop in Athens that sold brass self-tapping rivets and I was further spurred on my way.

The two geese together

Time for story

Having created these geese, it was obvious they had outgrown the original role and it was time to have or write a new story to perform in.  I looked at stories with a goose/gander as central character, but decided to write my own, The Goose and the Hog.  My dear friend, Saleema is organising a birthday party and has asked me to perform with my puppets. I shall be previewing my play there! Below is the script.

The Goose and the Hog                                3 puppets: Goose, Hog and Duck

Goose resting by riverbank: Duck swimming in background.

Narrator: Once there was an old goose resting by the riverbank. I say resting, but in all honesty, he was quite uncomfortable. He wriggled and jiggled, irritated by his lumpy bed, but was too tired and too lazy to move. So instead he moaned and groaned until he fell asleep.

Enter the hog: Sniffing at ground (rooting for truffles) bumps into the sleeping goose.

Goose: “What the…?!”

Goose stretches his neck and leers to see who or what had disturbed him. The hog looked as surprised as the goose.

Hog: “Oops! – Sorry old bird, I didn’t see you there!”

Goose:  “Don’t you ‘old bird’ me you hapless hog! – Be on your way!”

Hog trots off, sniffing at the ground, leaving the goose grumbling himself back to sleep.  Goose is  still uncomfortable, wriggling and muttering in his sleep. Hog sniffing the ground, wanders his way back and, Bump! Head-butts goose; startling him.

Goose:  “For goodness sake! – You again? – Leave me in peace!”

Hog:  “Well, there’s no need to be so hissy!”

Hog scurries off, tutting and scoffing. Goose eventually settles down, though still rather uneasily. The duck passes by in the background.

Duck: “Quack”

Goose raises an eye, and settles back to sleep.

Narrator: BUMP! Yes, you guessed it – That hapless hog has bumped into the old goose – Again!

Goose:  “Oh, this really is too much!”

Goose chases the hog round in circles. Hog squealing, narrowly escaping the old goose’s clacking beak, until eventually the gooses trips over his own feet and topples over onto the river.

Hog: “Truffles!!”

Narrator: There in the hollow where the goose has been trying to sleep is a delightful troop of truffles, as plump as you could imagine. Well, the hog scurried up and scoffed the lot! And when he’d finished he waddled off into the next field for a nap and the goose and settles down for a nice long rest.

Goose:  “Shocking table manners, don’t you think?”

Duck: “Quack, quack”