Master puppeteer dazzles at Tyler library - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Master puppeteer dazzles at Tyler library

By Jamey Boyum - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - You could call Jean Kuecher a control freak. She has her own stage, and her actors will do exactly what she wants them to do. She pulls the strings…literally. She does puppet shows with marionettes. We caught up with her and her "Marionette Playhouse" at the Tyler Library to find out what made her a Master Puppeteer.

When someone uses the term, "Pulling the strings" this is where it came from. Marionette Puppetry. Jean Kuecher has been making witches fly and beauties sleep since she was ten.

"Someone came to my school, and they put on a puppet show, a marionette show. And, I went home that day and I told my parents, I said I would like to have some marionettes and they found some for me at a department store that were made in England. I started making stories with those in my back yard for my friends," She said.

She moved on to doing book reports with her mini people. From there she began making up her own stories and having her little actors entertain at libraries and other schools. It didn't take her long to turn pro and start doing birthday parties. Some of her shows include showing her audience how to make simple marionettes.

"I encourage them to go home and do it. And, every once in a while somebody will say that they actually did go home and make the puppet," she beamed, "I love it when the children respond enough to actually do puppet shows themselves."

After her shows she always explains just how it works. Yes, she actually gives away her secrets..but it's in hopes of making future puppeteers.

"And I have them try the voices which they love to try. Especially the wicked witch voice and they love to roar for the dragon, "She adds.

She says putting on a puppet show expands critical and creative thinking, and she knows watching one incites a sense of wonder, even though she can't see the kid's faces. Jean says just by listening…

"I can tell that they're with me," She said.

"Puppetry is not an art project. It is a performing art. So, I want the children to make the puppet and make it come alive."

No matter how tired her arms get, she's going to "play" it forward.

Jean Kuecher is also the Festival Director of the Houston Puppetry Festival, which is in September. She has another performance Saturday, at the World of Wonders Children's Museum in Longview at ten am.

It's a black light science show.

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