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Sesame Family Robinson – From making Muppets to Raising Moppets

Entries with tag tagjune2010 .

The Natonal Puppetry Conference



Number of the day:  17

I met Marty 17 years ago today at the O’Neill Theatre Center National Puppetry Conference. He was creating his first, full-length puppetry piece as the guest artist and I was a playwright-in-residence invited there to learn about puppets. The rest is history, which you can see on our New York Times wedding video

We spent the next 16 odd years being staff members at the Conference—Marty teaching puppetry, me teaching writing. We even came back as guest artists together to do our puppetry play called “Pigeon Holed.” (Check out pictures on Marty’s website)

The Puppetry Conference is one of the few places where an emerging puppeteer can go for a week of intensive training in puppetry. They can work with a guest artist, do their own pieces, and learn a variety of puppetry styles. It’s an intensive crash course, and if you’re a budding puppeteer and reading this, here’s another website to check out: www.oneillpuppetryconference.com 

Being a mother of twins, I bowed out of teaching this year. I also need to stay home and work on my second show of the 41st season due June 25th. I want to write something with the Itsy, Bitsy Spider not able to do her rhyme anymore because she’s got an egg sac to watch over. Still, I went for the opening day to introduce everyone to our babies. We’ve got wonderful old friends who come every year to help instruct budding puppeteers in the art they love. Marty also needed my car to haul up all the gear he needs for his workshop called “Puppet Anarchy.” Ripley, Lyra and I spent a wonderful day walking around the gorgeous O’Neill grounds, chatting and listening to all the projects as they were pitched to the group of 50 eager faces. I have to admit, it was extremely liberating to be just an observer. Normally, I’d be dashing about getting scripts copied and preparing for my class. Today, I was just Mommy watching Daddy do his thing.


The Puppetry Conference students and teachers giving rapt attention to someone. Marta MacRostie, who sang at our wedding, is holding Ripley.


Marty in his O’Neill duds holding Lyra.


Marty with Lyra as Honey Goodenough looks on.  (Yes, that’s her name.)


The babes on the porch of the famous O’Neill Theatre Center mansion.

The art of eating

Lyra and Ripley contemplate today’s finger food.

Word of the Day: Finger food

Our pediatrician said it’s time to move Lyra and Ripley away from bottles and baby food and more to self-feeding. I still can’t fathom giving up their morning and evening bottles in place of a sippy cup. Where’s the comfort in a sippy cup? We are quite ready to try the palate of choices with finger foods. My mornings are now spent cutting apples, bananas, strawberries and even blueberries into miniscule bites fit for little mouths. I’m still petrified of the choking factor so even the blueberries get cut into quarters. The girls are embracing their new freedom of choice with glee. Ripley is a shoveler—she grabs whole handfuls and shovels them in her mouth. Good thing her bib has a little pocket so I can rescue half the morsels that fall out of her fingers before they hit the target. Lyra is far more delicate, picking up one piece at a time and placing it pristinely into her mouth. Recently, she took the empty container of puffs and started to place them back into it one by one. She does this when she’s bored of feeding the big dog her puffs. Will she be our natural organizer? Every meal now requires a little more thought and time. What fruits or vegetables do we cut up? When do we still rely on the organic, store bought ready-to-go mashed fare? And of course, how small can we cut food down without pulverizing it? We do give them sippy cups now at dinner rather than the water bottle to wash things down. We’ll cross the comfort-bottle bridge later. Did I mention it’s now a cleaning job from hell after each meal? Bless our dog Nell who likes fruits and vegetables.




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Annie answers your Sesame Street questions.

We got mail! Marty and I are getting great questions from our readers. Here's one of our favorites so far:

Dear Annie,

I just found your blog and can’t believe I didn’t know about it earlier! It’s so great to “meet” a mom from Sesame Street! What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written for Sesame Street? I wonder if my kids and I have seen it!
 
Wishing you sunny days,
Cynthia
Phoenix, AZ


One of my favorite Sesame writing moments happened when I was playing softball with my union’s team in Central Park. Our pitcher said he’d just watched the funniest Sesame show that morning with his daughter about “spaceketeers” pretending to fly into space. I was able to say, “Oh, I wrote that one!” to his surprise and delight. Some of my other favorites are parodies of “Mad Men” and “Survivor: Musical Chairs.” We recently did a show that will air this fall called “Twin Day” which was great fun to shoot and we did a walk-on with Lyra and Ripley. I also really enjoy writing shows for Marty’s characters. I think he is just so talented and funny—but I am biased.

Stay tuned for more questions and answers! Or, to ask your own question, just e-mail us at familyrobinson@sesameworkshop.org. We may put it on our blog!
 
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Like your family we have twins, boy/girl, that turned three last month. I saw your blog entry for January and it looks like we have something in common, potty training twins. Like one of your girls, my son WILL NOT pee in the potty but his sister was doing well until she caught on to "Bubbie" not trying. I was just letting things run their course but our local pre-schools/mommy day out programs require the children to be potty trained and this mommy needs a day out. Bribery isn't working. Have you had any success?

Sommer

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How often is the telly puppet renewed or replaced?

Katherine Sydney, Australia

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I read in 40 Years of Life on the Street about an incident involving Snuffy's puppet where a sombrero caused the wood frame to collapse on you and Bryant Young. Did they rebuild the puppet after that or did they just make a new one?

Edward

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I just wanted to say thanks for the blog. My daughter Kylie (who just turned two yesterday) loves to ask if we are going to see "the babies." Thank you so much to you and Marty for bringing the joy of Sesame Street into our lives every day.

Kendal and Kylie Montreal, Canada

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I've noticed that there are fewer Muppets and people in an episode now than there were twenty years ago. Does everyone show up on the set for filming days or only certain ones? Who decides who gets to play the Anything Muppets? There are some voices I hear more than others.

Glenda

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