What do you use to transport your characters? Do you use your favorite carrying bag or suitcase as part of your act? Let’s take a look at what some vents use and see what YOU may want to utilize for maximum effect.
I have a variety of things I use when I am performing, depending upon several factors. I usually use a colored trunk that you can buy at your local department store and have my name lettered on it (from your local sign shop). I often have some padding added to the inside of the trunk so it won’t snag or scrape the faces and hands of the characters (the inside of these trunks are often made from particle board, which has a rough surface). These trunks are fairly lightweight, colorful for audiences, and keeps my name in front of the group the entire time I am performing. I have several in various colors so I can change off when I do a repeat date. These trunks are especially good for kidshows, which is my specialty.
If I am flying to a show, that is an entirely different matter. I had custom made special roll-on trunk that can double for a table (I put a colorful skirt around the bottom portion of the trunk to make it stage-friendly) and it has worked well. The top opens up and when I am finished with the act, I take off the skirt, and am ready to go to the airport. The trunks from the department store would not survive the flight as they would be destroyed in transit. You need a trunk that is sturdy, and also meets airline requirements for height and weight. I recommend Cabbage Cases Inc. in Columbus, Ohio for any flight case and they can advise you as to size, weight, and durability.
Sometimes you have a puppet that is either awkward in size or dimensions and you must rely on something else. I have found a large duffle bag can often do the trick. It is lightweight, and can travel relatively well. I would NOT recommend this for vent figures, unless you are driving to a show. The same holds true for the trunk I mentioned earlier. Driving may be OK, but you really need the extra protection of a special, secure case that has foam rubber cutouts to cradle the head and mechanics of your character. Nothing worse than to arrive at your show location and the vent figure is damaged.
Decades ago I switched to all soft puppets due to the factors I just mentioned. They are easy to use, and it takes a lot of the worry out of transporting them. With a quick use of a hairbrush you are ready to do your show.
Experimentation is the key. Determine what kinds of traveling you will be doing and where you will be performing. That could be the determining factor in which type of carrying case is right for you!
To contact Mark Wade: firstname.lastname@example.org