ISU professor is telling stories using puppets made from trash

ISU professor is telling stories using puppets made from trash


Everywhere you look in Amanda Petefish-Schrag’s basement something is looking back at you. That’s because the assistant professor of theatre at iowa state spends much of her time down here designing and building puppets. “When I find the placement so i’ll attach this wing.” For Petefish-Schrag puppeteering is the family business her parents traveled around the Midwest performing shows and introduced Amanda to puppets at an early age. “I started working as a puppeteer when I was about four years old. I got to learn all aspects of the craft and I worked with my family for probably about 20 years.” Once she started teaching at Petefish-Schrag became more interested in using unique materials to build her puppets; materials that would help shape the stories themselves so she turned to trash. “Currently, I’m working a lot with plastic um which is a fascinating material but also a really tricky i mean it’s plastic it’s slippery. I’m working with materials that i’m not using it for its intended purpose and the very process of having to think differently about what i can use it for is also making me think differently about what’s the story i can tell. So never a dull moment here in the puppets studio.” There’s a lot of trial and error. “This is the moment is truth.” And a lot of hours dedicated to each puppet. “I would say probably a hundred close to a hundred hours but for Petefish-Schrag it’s worth it to see what was once garbage come to life. “I am getting to transform something that has been deemed irrelevant into something that is relevant. I’m also striving to create things that are beautiful out of things that are not.” And she hopes her work can be a lesson for others. “My ultimate goal is is that more people can work with these materials and that it can become part of practice because i think there is value in taking things that we don’t have a place for and purposing them in a way that is useful.” For Iowa State News Service, I’m Dave Olson.”

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