I like to look at what other vents are doing. I enjoy seeing where they are playing and what they are doing to entertain audiences with their puppet friends. But I have noticed a trend that disturbs me a bit..I call it “puppet overload”.

I know it’s important to use more that one puppet for an all-vent show. Now some of you will say “So and so ventriloquist only used one character for an entire show and they were successful!”. Possibly..but the person they are usually talking about did shows years ago when people weren’t bombarded with constant information and bits of “noise”. I think people had better attention spans year ago and could watch something for more than five minutes.

On the opposite side of this is the vent who thinks they have to introduce SEVERAL puppets in a show to audiences. This is “puppet overload”. Just because you have eight or more puppets doesn’t mean you have to try and use them ALL in one show.   You don’t get a chance to build a puppet’s character with the audience. They really don’t get a chance to know who this puppet is before you go to something else. Having too many puppets in a show is as bad as trying to do a single show with one puppet. Audiences need variety, so my recommendation is to do two or three puppets in a show, rather than a whole menagerie of characters. Also when you do multiple characters you run out of voices for them and many start sounding alike. Explore also the possibility of doing some vocal tricks instead of another puppet, like the baby cry or distant voice. These are all legitimate vent add-ons and can give your show the variety it needs. Check the Maher online catalogue to see what we offer in this specialized area.

It’s better to do two characters well than eight or more that are mediocre. Just because you have all those puppets doesn’t mean you have to use them!images

To contact Mark Wade- kidshowvent@gmail.com