A LETTER FROM SANTA CLAUS

Santa and Mrs. Claus say "Hi"!
Santa and Mrs. Claus say “Hi”!

A Letter From Santa Claus

Transcribed by Marc Kohler

To Parents and Adults Who Care for Children:

 

Christmas Time is here, and I want your children to have a wonderful time.  So, here are a few things I want you adults to know before you bring your children to see me.

 

First, you must understand that children who are afraid of me think that I am the most powerful figure in their world.  I am responsible for bringing the presents!  Some people have claimed that I judge children–bringing coal to “bad” children, that I decide who is “naughty” or “nice”.  Let me assure you, and tell your children, that nothing could be further from the truth! I have never given any child a lump of coal.  And for those children who I miss, it was not their fault.  It’s just that sometimes, I make mistakes.  Remember that Nice Children are fine, and Naughty Children pall troubled children—they are acting out of anger or hurt—all children are in their hearts, Good Children.

 

Also, I do not watch children all of the time.  This whole idea is barbaric and abusive. If children are told that they have no privacy, then I am being used to undermine their very sense of worth.  One little girl asked me, “Are you God?”  The answer is definitely, NO!

 

So, it is YOUR job to help your children.  Do not tell them not to be afraid.  This will just make it harder for them, because they will still be afraid of me while at the same time wanting to do what you have ordered them to do.  You must understand that their fear is based on the power within them as people, and they “project” this power onto me.  So, some children, who are most afraid, may also be very creative. What can you do?   There are four zones through which a child goes in coming to see me, and, at each stage, there are things you can do to help to allay their fears.

 

1.  YELLOW ZONE:  This is when you are far away from me—at home or in the car on the way to visit me.  Talk about me as someone you know.  Sit down, and have the child practice sitting on your lap, and telling you what they want for Christmas. Laugh a lot.  Have a good time.  Read A Visit from Saint Nicholas while they are sitting there or another favorite book.  Bring the book with you when you come to visit me.  There is nothing I like better than reading aloud to relax a scared child.  Help them write a letter to me with some interesting stories as well as a list of what they want for Christmas.  Know the letter well enough to help me understand the writing.

 

2.  BLUE ZONE:  This is when you are in the same building with me.  Remind the child that they are going to see me. Remember to tell them that I do not decide who is naughty or nice.  I just want to hear about what they want for Christmas. See if you can get a glimpse of me, so they will know exactly where they are going and what to expect.  You know, some of my friends come and practice sitting in my chair while I am out feeding my reindeer.

 

3.  GREEN ZONE:  This is the zone while in line.  If the line is long, be aware that your child may become fidgety, and this is not just because they are in a line.  They are in a line to SEE me!  It is during this time that you will notice certain changes. Your child will become quieter the closer they come to me.  They will stare apprehensively in my direction. Take time to discuss me one more time.  Look at the book you have brought from home that they will show me.  Read the letter that you have written to me aloud if you are bringing one.

 

4. RED ZONE:  This is the scariest area for a child.  This is the area from the end of the line to my Chair.  It is in these few steps that happy, smiling children will become terrified, and their heart rates will double.  By the time they reach me, they are ready to bolt, and many do.  The brave ones who make it will sit on my lap as if they are made out of cardboard, barely able to utter even a few syllables.  I will do my best to allay their fears, but they are now where they have wanted to be but never wanted to be at the same time.  If they run away in tears, comfort them, and tell them they can try again when they are ready.  

One last note, so you can understand me.  I am here to give, and giving is the most important thing I or anyone can do. Sometimes, I cannot give you exactly what you want, but in many ways I will give you what you need.  The presents are just symbols of what you truly need, and that is one thing upon which I am an expert.  You– parents, children, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and friends NEED love, caring, respect, safety, and kindness.  That is what you need, and that is why we celebrate this holiday.  The presents that I give to you, and the presents you exchange are just tiny symbols of these much more important gifts, gifts that we must give to each other EVERY day of the year, because…

Love is the meaning of Christmas!

 Santa Claus

Santa Claus, Candy Cane Lane, The North Pole

 

 Transcribed by Marc W. Kohler

P.O. Box 16095

Rumford, Rhode Island 02916

 

marcwkohler@aol.com

marcwkohler.com

Youtube Channel: Marc Kohler(Puppets shows and workshops)

Television Show: Marc Kohler’s Puppet Shows

Statewide Interconnect, and PEGRITV Pawtucket

 

INTRODUCTION TO KOHLER PUPPETRY METHOD


Introductory Handbook for the

Kohler Puppetry Method

DRAFT 10/20/14

Prepared by Marc W. Kohler

105 Newman Ave. 913S

Rumford, Rhode Island 02916

Email: marcwkohler@aol.com

Web Site: marcwkohler.com

Youtube Channel: Marc Kohler

Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 16095

Rumford, Rhode Island 02916

Cell: 401-441-2129

The first Draft of this handbook written as a support to a presentation for the Professional Day for the Teaching Artist and Therapist held at  Special Day at the Puppet Homecoming Festival sponsored by the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions of the Puppeteers of America on Sept. 5-7, 2014

Revised and expanded for an application to the Puppeteers of America 2015 National Festival Professional Day for Therapists  and Educators.

Copyright Marc W. Kohler

October 2014

Introduction:

I started doing puppet shows as a child, and spent the summer of 1965, at 17, working as an assistant to Alan Cook at one of his puppet displays in Palo Alto, California.  In 1970, I founded The Puppet Workshop, Inc.   It was a non-profit educational puppet theater, and its goals were to produce original educational live puppet shows, teach the art of puppetry, and to explore new uses of puppetry in the arts, education, therapy, and commercial uses.  The Puppet Workshop stopped operating in 1994.  I have continued to do puppet shows, workshops, and puppets with special needs groups.  You can see many of The Puppet Workshop can be see on Youtube Channel: Marc Kohler.

The Kohler Puppetry Method(KPM) started when I made my first “Puffet” in the spring of 1966.  I had worked the summer of 1965 with Alan Cook, and the next summer as a recreation leader for the Palo Alto Recreation Department.  During one of the recreation training sessions, we made art projects, and I made a puppet head out of a piece of burlap wrapped around a bunch of felt pieces and tied with string.  I made a simple serape for the body, and put my index finger into the puppet head.  In 1975, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts asked me to design a puppet that could be made quickly on playgrounds in housing projects in Providence, Rhode Island.  I made the heads from the cardboard tubes used to hold bolts of cloth. These tubes replicated the burlap tube from years before.  Inside the tubes I glued rolled up 1/2” pieces foam rubber. We had made the puppet bodies in several different ways, and this pattern evolved over the next few years.  We were asked over and over to do these workshops with these puppets.  By 1976, I decided that I had a final product and applied for a patent.    In 1977, I received a patent on this puppet:  U. S. Patent Number: 4,019,570 in Puppet Assembling in March 1977. Here is an illustration of the Puffet from the Patent.

 

From 1977 TO 1993, we made over 25,000 of these puppets in workshops with children, teens, adults and children and adults with special needs.  Three thousand were sold directly to the Providence School Department along with training workshops for teachers.

I found a company which could manufacture the cardboard tubes and another one to make the foam head inserts.   The Occupational Therapy Office of Butler Hospital helped glue the pieces together.  Graduate students seemed to enjoy being paid to sew the bodies.  We reached about 1,600 participants a year in puppet making workshops.

Most of the ideas of this method were discovered while using these “Puffets”.  They were used with thousands of participants.  I like it because it can be made quickly, is sturdy, and will last for years after being made.  The method can be used with other kinds of puppets, but it is hoped that the puppet that is made can be made in about 20 to thirty minutes.  I have used variations of this puppet and created puppets with participants who had limited ability to hold a hand puppet, no wrist movement, or were deaf or blind.  I will discuss those puppets in the section on Special Needs participants.

Now, twenty years later, I have realized that the methods that I used in my puppet making workshops could be replicated by puppeteers, teachers, child care workers. Special needs teachers, and can be done with children, teens, adults and special needs groups.  It is a method, because it uses a specific kind of puppet, can be replicated, and will be backed up with materials like this Handbook.  Please understand that the Puffit is not the ONLY puppet that you can used for this method.  The puppet that is made just has to be quickly made, so the identity of the puppet occurs AFTER the puppet is made.  Click here to see a picture of the Puffit from the Patent.  I have started making Puffits for sale, and if you want to purchase them or have a questions about this method. Click on the word “Puffit” below to see it.   The joint between the head and cloth body holds the puppet torgether. because of the friction in the groove in the head.  This allows the heads to be stored in the Puffit’s cloth bodies as well as allowing puppets to change their heads and bodies!!

Puffit

Value of Puppets and the KPM Method

Puppets have been valued for decades as excellent teaching and therapeutic tools. I have attached several of these lists in Appendix 1.

What then, can the KPM add to these well stated goals and objectives?  It will add and increase the actual written products that come from the puppet making and performing experience.  For the method to work, here are some premises.

The participants do not decide or think about the character of the puppet that they are going to make.  Preconceived notions destroy the impact of the process.  I want the puppet to be MADE first, and thought and felt about later.  Puppet making materials will never meet the needs of the preconceived images, and so preconceptions will lead to disappointment. The goal of the method is to create an emotional attachment between the puppet and the puppet maker.  While the puppet maker is totally responsible for the character and nature of the puppet, the puppet becomes an active participant in the puppet creation and effects the performance.  This attachment is profound and deep.  It is not one to be played with, for once I asked a group if they wanted to renamed their puppets to create new characters—they refused with enthusiasm.  I present the participants with the idea of making a puppet without mentioning a specific puppet, story or written piece.  I do introduce them to the excitement of a live puppet show given with passion and commitment.  Then, I provide the supplies and directions to make a puppet without once mentioning that the puppet will have a character once completed.   Only after the puppet is completed or near completion, do I ask the participants to decide who or what their puppets are.  And, even here, I make the questions as short as I can—leaving lots of room for what the puppet might become once the puppet maker gets to know their puppet better.  These six questions give the puppet the “bare bones” of the character.

The participants write down the answers to six questions about their puppets.  If they cannot write, we let them answer the questions orally, and we write the answers for them. For non-verbal participants, we use the “Yes” or “No” system that works best for them. We then use the puppets in exercises, get the puppets on stage for interviews, and from these experiences the Kohler Puppetry Method has laid down the foundation for creating written works:

1. The Six Questions

2. Personality Likes and Dislikes

3. Lifelines.

4. Family Trees

5. Improvised original group and solo plays and monologues recorded or videoed.

6. Using improvised pieces to create

pieces.

All these pieces are geared to the age and abilities of the participants.

TO READ  THE COMPLETE HANDBOOK; PLEASE CONTACT MARC KOHLER AT marcwkohler@aol.com

Welcome

 

A new Puffit Comes to Life!!
A new Puffit Comes to Life!! Well, it has been a long time since I have written on this Blog! Fran and I have been busy.  In September of 2014, I attended and pretend at the Puppeteers of America MidAtlanitc/  North-East  Regional Homecoming Festival.  I gave a talk at the Professional Day for Teaching Artists and Therapists, and you can see the talk at The Presentation Talk for The Kohler Puppetry Method on this site.  It was a very enjoyable talk to give, and helped me to write Handbook for the Kohler Puppetry Method.  You can read the introduction to the Handbook on this site, too!  If you want to read the whole Handbook, just contact me at marcwkohler.com.  I have decided to sell these easy-to- make puppets, and have acquired the supplies to make 2,000 of them.  I just sent 50 to the Elbert Mentors Program in New York City!                                                                                    In October, i started too work as the Arts and crafts Teacher for the East Providence Recreation Department intoner After School Programs.  I am there weekdays from 4-7 PM, with art, crafts, puppets, storytelling, and lots of other cool stuff.  I will be back at the East Providence Recreation Department Summer Day Camp as  Recreation Leader this summer.        For the sixteenth year, Fran played Mrs. Claus at the Pawtucket Winter Wonderland Celebration.  I played Santa at the Providence Place Mall.  I was lucky to have the crew from the WPRI’s Rhode Show come an visit at the PPM, and they did a great article  titled A Visit with Jolly Old St. Nicholas..  It’s on tis site too!!  During the Winter,  I volunteers to read for the Screen Actor’s Guild Foundation’s BookPALS program at the Carl Lauro School in Providence. As part of that project, i decided to revive my United States Map arts Nine years ago, I create d map of the United States Map 18’X32″, and made several ao the, for the Providence Recreation Department.  This time, I used plywood instead of cardboard, and w appointed on the playground at the Carl Lauro School.  You can see photos of it here on the site, too!!

 

 

 

 

h

Hi:  Fran and I  are completing our fifth year face painting at the Crescent Park Carousel.  We are there Saturdays and Sundays from Easter until Columbus Day.  I spent my summer working as a Recreation Leader for the East Providence Recreation Summer Camp held at Pierce Athletic Complex.  I worked with The Rainbow Wolves, one of the 6-8 year-old groups, and the children were fantastic!  We painted plaster pieces, created mosaic pieces, puppets, murals, learned about rhythm, and painted bricks that we found buried in the playground!!  They were very old!!  In June, i played Owen Glendower for The Rhode Island Shakespeare Theater’s production of Henry IV Part I held at the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence.  I was also invited to present three workshops at the Puppeteers of America Northeast and Mid-Atlanic Regional Homecoming Festival.  I presented two workshops on using puppets in educational and therapeutic situations and one on easy to make puppet with emphasis on The Puffit.  The Puffit is an easy to make puppet that I invented, hold a patent on, and am marketing now.   We face painted at the East Greenwich Arts Festival, the Pawtucket Arts Festival, and the K-Rob Festival held at the Carousel.  You can see both of us appearing as mr. and Mrs. Claus in the Federal Hill Columbus Day Parade.  Fran starts playing Mrs. Claus at Winter Wonderland at Slater Park, Pawtucket.  This will be her 16th year there:: December 7,8,14,15.  I will be at Providence Place Mall with a red suit on!! We are available to do Santa and Mrs. Cl;aux visits throughout December.  Please take a look at the programs that we offer schools, families, libraries, recreation centers, and any group that needs quality children’s programs. If you have any questions for us, please call or email us:                                                                 Cell: 401-441-2129 Home: 401-438-4921    Email: marcwkohler@aol.com

 

Here we are at the Federal Hill Columbus Day Parade!!  We sat on the back of an antique pick-up truck!!
Here we are at the Federal Hill Columbus Day Parade!! We sat on the back of an antique pick-up truck!!
This is the most popular face for boys!!
This is the most popular face for boys!!

 

 

We use air dry clay, so the kids can take home there work that day, and they will dry very hard and last for years!!
We use air dry clay, so the kids can take home there work that day, and they will dry very hard and last for years!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Puffet takes a walk!!
A Puffit takes a walk!!