A Passion for Puppets

When I walked into the first day of Alex Stonehill and Sarah Stuteville’s Advanced Multimedia Storytelling class, I had no idea what my subject for the quarter would be. Then as the class went around the table, pitching possible stories for a short documentary, I remembered that I already knew a great subject – my friend Rachel Jackson, who quit her day job a few years ago to start a business making, performing and teaching puppets.

Most of the puppets Rachel uses wouldn’t look out of place on the Sesame Street set, but their behavior might be. She tends not to do family-friendly shows – the first time I saw one of her performances, it was in a musical where at least one of the songs featured a chorus of large plush genitalia. She describes her working genre as “creepy-cute,” with the inherent cuteness of the puppets playing off darker material.

Rachel and her stable of puppet personalities made a great subject for my first stab at a video project, and even if while filming I got a lot of first-hand knowledge about what not to do, hopefully this video gets across some of the love she has for what she does.

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