The Puppet and the Fisherman – Part 2 Phoenix Futures

The very diligent man ‘J’ decided that his character was a fisherman. We’d spoken about our common interests/hobbies in order to find a way in and he instantly started to make a fishing rod. We spoke about looking at the puppet and seeing something about yourself in it. He understood the concept of it being an analogy of his situation, but he commented ‘it’s just someone fishing !’. In the creation of the story he took on the directorial role and had very firm ideas.

The very enthusiastic woman ‘M’ embellished puppet with hair to look like her, She decided that her story was a reflection of her love of dance and how she gave it up and what might have been, she said her daughter is reliving her passion for tap dancing by going to classes.

We suggested she take her puppet home to work on, she commented

‘my puppet is safe here and that this is for me not my kids.’

Towards the end of the session another woman came into the room, a member of staff, who had been through recovery herself. She was initially unwilling to take part but having been offered a bit of brown paper and some guidance she became more committed to the making process and relaxed, a further woman came in who was initially a distraction to everyone else. However, the member of staff tried to encourage her to take part and they made a puppet together.


We were determined to present performances of ‘G’s’ fisherman’s puppet and ‘M’s’ dancer ? Unfortunately, ‘M’ couldn’t make it, she was dealing with a domestic problem. ‘G’ was first in the room, we quickly motivated him to work on manipulating his puppet and bringing some detail to the story and the puppets action. There were only 3 of us which made it hard to see the reaction of the puppet. ‘J’arrived a few minutes late, he was keen to get on with his puppet but kept saying that, he’d left it too late and he should’ve been here the week before. He kept commenting on how good ‘G’s’ was and then wanted to give up as it wasn’t going to be as good. He was encouraged him to continue. A new guy had come in, he wasn’t really prepared to start making a puppet, we engaged him in the filming of ‘G’s. He was slightly disruptive at the beginning making suggestions about the storyline, however it was good to hear ‘G’ stick to his story and importantly the kind of character he had established. The new man thought the character should be angry at failing to catch the fish and aggressive, but ‘G’ insisted that was not what the character was about, the puppet was quiet, patient and thoughtful, not ‘some hard man from a scheme’ (scheme-Glaswegian for a tough housing estate). This could be interpreted as ‘G’, wanting to reject that way of life that he’s trapped in and wanting to portray a different aspect. He stated he didn’t want his story to be about recovery.

‘If you said you were into history, art or geography in my area, you’d be battered, you had to be into football or fighting’.


Angela Smith

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