In association with our Puppet Power: Festival of Ideas which runs May 23 – 29, 2022 we’re excited to offer a Puppet Power Artist Feature, a series of blogs exploring the role of puppetry in ‘celebration’ of some sort or another. Thank you to the puppeteers from around the world, who contributed their insights and their work in these challenging times.
Celebrating the Liminal Space
by Kathy Smith,
(edited Wendy Passmore-Godfrey)
In Western, Eurocentric societies, celebration often occurs when a task is completed, or when individuals come together for an organized occasion. People celebrate through a need to be together. Often these celebrations are exclusive and many who are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression are either not welcome, or they struggle with the concept of celebration as they may not have the desire to celebrate – they cannot identify where their experience is within the celebration and therefore are left out.
Puppets assist in bringing a face or an image to the individual, through their own making of the puppet, and the individual can then begin to awaken to the celebration of their own journey as opposed to feeling the disconnect from the collective celebration around them.
Puppetry has been used for millennia to portray celebrations of all kinds – births, rights of passage, deaths (Famous Puppet Death Scenes!!), and I feel puppets are best suited to represent the pieces of human experience that otherwise go uncelebrated, as they can be fashioned however the individual experiences the need.
Through a puppet infused piece, (a work in progress) titled “Celebrating Liminal Spaces”, Kathy focuses on the need to consider the time and space experienced before completion of a major task i.e. an academic degree.
Liminal spaces are those of transition and metamorphosis, and are often disregarded by individuals as they struggle with the enormity of their workload and life stresses. Mental health and wellbeing are compromised during these critical times.
She suggests that if we bring to light and honour – celebration – to the magic of liminality prior to desired end result, we will be able to appreciate the depth of our entire experience and live with mindful intent.
Kathy’s work is informed by Heather Plett’s writings, specifically her focus on the vulnerability of identifying and being in liminal space as a strength of the person. Unrecognized strengths that bring us through the challenging times leading up to a desired end goal, should be celebrated in balance to the end goal itself. (https://heatherplett.com/)
Kathy Smith is social justice/mental health educator, residing on Vancouver Island, with a 20+ year career in mental health and addictions social work, and a life long passion for puppets and puppetry.
(Puppet Power Artist Feature)